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Copyright, 1955, by 
The Ronald Press Company 

All Rights Reserved 

The text of this publication or any part 

thereof may not be reproduced in any 

manner whatsoever without permission in 

writing from the publisher. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-6813 


The English language is the most important scientific 
instrument at your disposal. 
Learn to use it with precision. 

-C. W. Foulk 

Legend on the wall in the main lecture 
room, Chemistry Building, The Ohio 
State University 



As long as men make decisions based on informa- 
tion, there will be reports. Engineers will write them and retail 
buyers; they will be written by accountants, research workers, 
salesmen, and men and women on all levels of management. 

This is a volume for today's students who tomorrow will be 
writing those reports. It is based on a general, functional ap- 
proach to report writing. The writer of a report begins with a 
need for information. He has to fill that need. He seeks the 
needed information through direct observation, asks questions, 
or uses libraries, files, and magazines. He may use several of 
these methods. Finally he uses language and other symbols to 
report the information he has gathered. Our discussion of this 
approach to report writing, and of the ways to gather informa- 
tion and to use language, applies to all types of reports. 

Since we believe that industrial practice does not justify the 
systems of classification of reports by subject matter or func- 
tion found in some texts, we have omitted these groupings in 
ours. We have avoided also the formula approach to reports. 
We feel that there are no short cuts or "six easy steps" to good 
writing of any kind. Learning to write takes practice and time. 
But this book, we believe, outlines a sound approach, based on 
the reporter's understanding of his place in the whole informa- 
tion-gathering and communication situation. 

Actual practice in industry and business has guided us in 
this volume. Throughout are many current examples of reports 
in a wide range of business and professional fields from the 
actual files of successful professionals. 

Readings— articles reprinted from business magazines and 
other sources— are an important part of this text. In examining 
the principles and problems of reporting they contribute a fur- 
ther range that comes from having many points of view from 
practicing experts. 

The problems at the end of each chapter and the work mate- 

vi Preface 

rials in Part IV illustrate the variety of reporting situations. 
These exercises deal with reports of varying sizes— long, short, 
and medium, and of varying degrees of formality. They in- 
clude problems requiring the student to collect material from 
his college community as well as problems that supply mate- 
rial so that the student who has no access to business and 
industrial sources can still report on problems in industry and 

Included are many developments of the last few years : read- 
ability and readability scales, information theory, the human 
relations emphasis in industry, reporting as a management- 
developing tool, and reporting with perspective as opposed to 
reporting of minutiae. We hope to encourage in the student's 
approach to report writing an awareness of the latest develop- 
ments and a readiness for changes to come. 

We owe thanks to the men we have worked with in indus- 
trial consulting, to the hundreds of students of report writ- 
ing in our own classes in college and industry, and to our 
many friends in the American Business Writing Associa- 
tion. They have all helped shape our approach to report 

The conventions and publications of ABWA, along with the 
friendships and associations formed through the organization, 
were important in the forming of this book. It is hard to single 
out individuals, but special thanks go to C. R. Anderson, ABWA 
founder ( University of Illinois ) ; Jack Menning ( University of 
Alabama); Ernest Hedgcock (A. & M. College of Texas); 
K. Baker Horning (University of Oklahoma); Richard Gerfen 
and Daniel Lang (Northwestern University); Frank Devlin 
(John Carroll University); Margaret Brickie (The Ohio 
State University); John Gilliam (The Vulcan Corporation); 
D. L. Uhling (Remington Rand, Inc.); Hilary Milton (330th 
Training Publications Squadron, Scott Air Force Base); Robert 
Bendure, James Purvis, David Thompson, and Max Allen 
( Armco Steel Corporation ) ; Sybil Lee Gilmore ( Standard Reg- 
ister Company ) ; Ray Garrett ( Champion Paper & Fibre Com- 
pany); William Werner (Procter & Gamble); W. C. Gill 
(Douglas Aircraft Company); Fred E. Pamp (American Man- 
agement Association); and James Denham, Lawrence Hynes, 
and John Norman ( Miami University ) . 

Preface vii 

Through the reporting skill of these men and women and 
others like them industry has moved forward. Their achieve- 
ment is one to be proud of, and one we hope you will share. 

Oxford, Ohio John Ball 

Stillwater, Oklahoma Cecil B. Williams 

January, 1955 



Reports and Report Writing 




Reports: What and Why .... 



Locating Material 

. 18 


Organizing Facts and Ideas 



Writing and Revising . 



Language . 






Visual Aids 




Preparing the Report 

8 Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 

9 The Informal Report . 

10 The Formal Report . 

11 Letter of Transmittal 



Supplementary Readings and 
Special Applications 

12 General Readings 


Writing a Report ( from The Royal Rank of Canada 
Monthly Letter) ...... 191 

Report Writing (by A. S. Donnelly) . . . 202 


x Contents 


Report of the 1953 ABWA Reports Committee . 210 
You Cant Afford to Write a Poor Letter ( National 

Office Management Association) . . 220 
Exercise Sheet for Proofreaders and A Proof- 
readers Nightmare ..... 225 

13 Organizing Facts and Ideas: Readings . 231 

Make a Map to Guide Your Writing (by Hilary H. 

Milton) . . . .. . ' . 231 

14 Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 243 

Our National Mania for Correctness (by Donald J. 

Lloyd) 243 

Korzybski and Semantics ( by Stuart Chase ) . . 249 

The Language of Reports (by S. I. Hayakawa) 259 
Improve Your Vocabulary, But Keep Big Words in 

Their Place (by George Summey, Jr.) . . 264 

15 Style: Readings ....... 272 

People in Quandaries ( by Wendell Johnson ) 272 
On Absolute Measurement (by N. Ernest Dorsey 
and Churchill Eisenhart) . ." .276 

16 Visual Aids: Readings ...... 279 

Meaning in Space (by Loring M. Thompson) . 279 
Illustrating the Technical Presentation ( by Thomas 

S. Michener, Jr.) . . . 289 
T op-Level Sales Communications (by James K. 

Blake) . . . . 301 

17 Special Applications to Business and Engineering: 

Readings . . . . 306 
Internal Reports— Too Much Paper Work? (from 

Management Review) . . . . 306 
E — MC 2 (by Albert Einstein) . . .307 
A New Sales Control System Hits the Business 

Horizon (by John M. Gilliam) . . .311 

The Presidents Round Table (from AM A General 

Management Series) ..... 316 



Reporting in a Control Group Organization (by 
Thomas J. McGinnis) . .322 

Technical Writing Grows into New Profession: 
Publications Engineering (by Robert T. Hamlett) 350 


Work Materials 

18 Case Studies 

Case Study I . 
Case Study II 
Case Study III 
Case Study IV 

Supplementary List of Titles, Informal Reports 
Industrial Engineering Report Subjects (Informal) 
Supplementary List of Titles, Formal Reports . 
Selected Ribliography ..... 
Index ........ 




Reports and Report Writing 

Chapter 1 


The head of the department asked me to send him a 
memo on the number of students in my class in Report Writing 
the first day it met this semester. I counted the students, and 
here is the note I put under his door: 






Figure 1. Simple Memorandum Report on Class Enrollment. 

J. T. Mays sent samples of four types of glue to a General 
Electric Company laboratory for testing. The chemist, T. J. 
Maloney, tested the glue and prepared his findings for Mr. 
Mays : 


4 Report Writing 


Evendale Plant, March 16, 1954 

Mr. J. T. Mays 
Drafting Policy 
Evendale Plant 
Building 500 

Samples of General Electric Glyptal, Dupont Duco, Agnus, 
and Barry cements were submitted by you for this laboratory 
to test. Samples were in good condition and were dated 
January, 1954. All tests were made in a room with constant 
temperature of 68°F. 

Two stainless steel panels were cemented together with each 
cement and allowed to set for forty-eight hours. When 
adhesion was checked by pulling the panels apart, the Dupont 
Duco cement was found to be the best one, followed in order 
by General Electric Glyptal, Agnus, and Barry. 

Samples of each cement were placed on watch glasses and 
allowed to dry for forty-eight hours. The watch glasses 
were then placed in a beaker of water. When checked an 
hour later, the Dupont Duco, Agnus, and Barry cements were 
no longer adhering to the watch glasses, but the General 
Electric Glyptal cement adhered with a hard bond. 

T. J. Maloney 
Chemical Unit Laboratory 
Aircraft Gas Turbine 
Building 200 - Ext. 257 

Figure 2. Memorandum Report on Glue Test. (Reprinted by permission 
of T. J. Maloney, General Electric Co.) 

John Jackson's Plymouth hit Joseph Jaske's Chevrolet at the 
corner of Reading Road and Northcut Avenue in Cincinnati; 
Field Claimsman R. A. Schneider of the Central Insurance 
Company investigated the accident and organized his findings 
this way: 

Reports: What and Why 


□ Reg. Claims Off. 
-Q Field Claimsman 

Date February 10. 5fr 

Ed« Jones 

Copy fo_ 

John Jackson 

On Property Fire Claims Only 
Adjustment Time 

Mileage Driven 
Other Expenses 

Adjuster's Report: 


The Investigation of the auto accident involving our insured, 
Mr. Jackson, has been completed. The facts brought to light leave 
no doubt of liability. 

Both our insured and claimant were negligent in the operation 
of the cars they were driving. No agency was developed between the 
claimant driver and the claimant owner. My conclusions are support- 
ed by signed statements of both drivers and the witness. A canvass 
of the neighboring residents developed no information that had not 
already been secured. The police report indicated that both drivers 
had a green light; that is a cynical conclusion. 

I will pay Davis for his Chevrolet damage, deny Jaske's injury 
claim, pay Jackson's collision damage, and reimburse Mrs. Jackson 
for her medical eapenditure*. 

Sub Pending Qj Salvage Pending Q| Risk O.K.? [T] Yes f~] No 

An. WC WC 
F. T. Com p . Col. P.P. B.I. M.P. Col. Med . Comp . 

OpenReserve, 000313011300000 
Entire File Closed O File Clo$ed This End | ) 

B. A. Schneider 



Policy No . 96-858 

Claim Kl» . 01-6742 


I are: (in order) 

(Auto. MA, PF, GL, BRT| 

□ Risk Report 
D Non-Woiver 

□ N/L or P/L 


□ Invest. Memo 

□ Police Report, 
Q A.P. Report, 

□ Bill, 

□ Repair Orders 

□ Estimates 


(WC Only) 
n Car Ident. □ Employer', Report ot Injury 

□ Releases Q Settlement Agreement 

□ Req. For Cash Settlement Q A. P. Reports 
n Med. Pay— Proof ol Claim □ Statements 

□ Report on a... .Claim Q ln i- Employee's Report 

□ Photographs □ Adj. Initial Report 

D Letters □ Adj. Supplemental Report 

□ P.D. a B.I. Report Q 

n Supplemental Report Q 

Q Draft Copies □ 

a p 



G!v. Compl.l, 

D Indei (Attached I.I.M.) 

□ Fire ond/or Theft Report 

□ Sole of Salvage Report 

□ Retail Credit Report 
D Send A-4 

□ Subrogation 

□ Photostats 

□ Open Reserve 

Q Reopen Reserve 

D Close Reserve W/O Pay. 

□ Change Bl Reserve 

□ Reinsurance 

□ Excess Loss 


□ See Remarks 

D Assign Suit File I 









D File 

□ File Activo 

File Closed 

Figure 3. Insurance Claim Adjuster's Report. (By permission of R. A. 
Schneider. ) 

Report Writing 



John Jackson of 1514 Lincoln St., Cincinnati, Ohio, 
was driving his 1951 Plymouth for the purpose of 
pleasure at the time of the accident. His only pas- 
senger was his wife, Mary, who was sitting in the 
front right seat. Both are 36 years of age. 


Joseph Jaske, age 25, of 1836 Oak St., Cincinnati, 
Ohio, was driving a lb53 Chevrolet owned by Paul Davis 
of 4362 Sherman Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio. Jaske had 
borrowed the Chevrolet for his own purpose and pleas- 
ure and was the sole occupant at the time. 


The sole witness is David Jaeger, age 46, of 3024 Vine 
St., Cincinnati, Ohio. Jaeger was driving a 1949 


This accident occurred at the intersection of Reading 
Rd. and Northcut Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio. The inter- 
section is controlled by traffic lights operating 
green-yellow-red and red-yellow-green. Reading Rd. 
is a straight, level, four-lane highway, running 
north and south at the scene. North and southbound 
travel is divided by a double yellow center line. 
Northcut is a straight, level, blacktop, two-lane 
street, entering Reading Rd. from the east. Visi- 
bility is good on all approaches to the intersection. 


January 28, 1954 10:30 P.M. 


Clear and dry. 


Jackson was proceeding west on Northcut Ave. As he 
approached the intersection, the light changed to red 
and he came to a proper stop. The witness, who was 
also proceeding west on Northcut Ave., came to a stop 
behind Jackson. While waiting for his light to re- 
turn to green, Jackson put his left turn signals on. 
When the light changed to yellow, Jaeger saw a north- 
bound car in the center lane of Reading Rd. This car, 
which was the Chevrolet driven by Jaske, was about 70 
ft. south of the intersection and moving at approx- 

Reports: What and Why 7 

imately 35 miles per hour. Jaske made no attempt to 
stop. When the light changed from yellow to green for 
Jackson, he instantly started forward into the inter- 
section. Jackson had gone no more than twelve feet 
when the front of his car made contact with the center 
of the right side of the northbound Chevrolet. The 
Chevrolet swerved to the west side of Reading Rd. and 
continued north for a distance of 112 feet before 
Jaske was able to regain control and stop. The for- 
ward motion of Jackson's Plymouth ceased on impact 
but the front end turned clockwise as a result of the 
collision. The Plymouth stopped in a position of 
facing north in the center of Reading Rd. at the north 
side of the intersection. 

The Cincinnati police were called to the scene 
by Jaeger, and a formal report was made. Mary Jack- 
son and Joseph Jaske were removed to the General 
Hospital by a police ambulance. 

This description is based on Jaeger's signed 
statement. Statements taken from Jackson and Jaske 
tie in with Jaeger's statement with the exception that 
Jaske insists his light did not change from green to 
yellow until after he had entered the intersection. 


Jaske received fractures of three left ribs and was 
hospitalized for 24 hours. He is making a rapid re- 
covery. Mary Jackson suffered the loss of two of her 
upper front teeth, and a deep laceration over the 
right eye. Her recovery is progressing satisfac- 


Jaske was negligent for entering the intersection on a 
yellow light. Jackson was negligent in that he 
started into the intersection without first deter- 
mining that he could do so with safety. The fact that 
Jackson moved on a green light does not remove his 
responsibility of showing ordinary care in entering 
the intersection. Jackson stated that he did not see 
the Chevrolet until the instant of impact. 


No payment will be made to Jaske for his bodily 
injuries because his negligence contributed to the 

Report Writing 

We will pay Davis for the damage to his Chevrolet 
since Jaske' s negligence cannot be imputed to Davis, 
the owner. Jackson's negligence is the basis for 
payment to Davis. 

We will pay for the repair of Jackson's Plymouth under 
his deductible coverage. We have no right of recov- 
ery from Jaske. 

Our only interest in Mrs. Jackson's injuries is to 
pay her actual medical expenses under the medical 
payment provisions of our policy. She will have a 
good claim against Jaske for the injuries she 

Charles E. Merrill, Directing Partner, and Winthrop H. 
Smith, Managing Partner, had many things to say to their cus- 
tomers and associates in the firm of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, 
Fenner & Beane at the end of 1953. Some were specific: a 
statement of income, profit, growth. Some were more general: 
remarks on the capital gains tax and on the firm's and the na- 
tion's prospects for the future. Some were long-range: a review 
of policy since the merger which formed the present company 
in April, 1940, with statements on the permanent policies and 
philosophies of the firm's operation. In order to get these things 
said the company prepared a brochure, as it does every year. 
This year's brochure contains 14 photographs, 2 charts, 4 
graphs, and a balance sheet. On pages 9-14 are six pages from 
the brochure, with graphs showing growth and development 
over a 12-year period. 

The note to my department head, the memorandum on the 
glue tests, the insurance adjuster's review of the details of the 
automobile accident, and the Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, 
and Beane booklet are all reports. What do they all have in 
common? A report has a job to do, a job of carrying informa- 
tion—facts and ideas— to someone who needs it. He may need 
information as the basis for an immediate decision or as back- 
ground for long-range planning; he may need a little informa- 
tion or a lot. The length and much of the nature of the report 
will depend on his needs. 

The Importance of Reports. The importance of a report 
depends obviously on how badly the information it contains is 

Reports: What and Why 

, :- 



F5K1VTS }*©U* 

A; ;< Ci>('ii : ?fcfH:C a' .' ;-!<,i«ag'-i;i i .i <iat'S.rX>!'S 

in April I «»-*<( foHiro-<n$> the merger <.»< 
Lynch •«- t o V. V Picrcs o, Co., and « iwm S 
Co the . . • , , 

I:. Men til. said; 

"Win, lose or draw, we've £<>l lo nail tine 

f'Kfii'.:Y im t)i.:- ixs'jf .<\.oy!ti.«:»v ';.4<«i ...vr..,*; 
into hh shop is g?*«g *- reeeive the 
^is.iitKt and He« :a i !.>%<.-« 

Ar chat i ■ ' • ml for >tn al- 

together new feinrf of brokerage Tin;, *.m du*i), 
r..r (wo days Mr Merrill and •> partitei ..-J 
Managers discussed the Sum's [x>!icits, ih( most ini- 
pofwnl "t which «verc: 

Minimum umimussioiu 

r'cec research scrvic* '■■ big and "n.iii cvswmtti 
■ alike 

t...i::;-.Ur 1 ? djsclosvifc ni t l.< iirrr,': intcresl it] »«*j 
seciirit; memrioitai in etui (..jintcd litenwuxe 

Straight va, ,u.,H« rathe* 

I }* ( i < it.o, >r r 

i ik> - I -J up to 

•jh> b »«. )- iciu(.<k . .. ■ 

(list «i I's ., >> j * »y, 

. r.'^'i... <>• «t > ; 
•■: •.-. mum th'i m J-- • -.., in I • . 'p|«.-. cheij tt' 

On tfc> 

Figure 4. Portion of an Annual Report. (From 1953 Annual Report, by 
permission of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane. ) 

needed. One way to test the need for information would be 
to declare a reporting holiday for a month, say, or a year, in 
any large organization: A. T. & T., General Motors, New York 
University, Walter Reed Hospital, the Government of the 
United States. We would find that without its constant incom- 


Report Writing 

< h* <<. ICO Pftj.i. ,[<~eii<,<<! X =: ; i<r ..jli< rt i 

<, .owed an ?<(>.!< < vibon. 

i. <>!2 ! ^ h „.,.}, „ „<u, s,«. sy « <,>*!... 1 
gojsw oxoroe ;o S4?.v «uShcoi, frofn so fniihoc. 
< ijxu fu«<K «< n<:1 .,!!..>> -( )> WcvI.imi- 
r.o .V?«. 

*">>.! (>m (>U> <-t Ni.» V /i) ; i . i 

o. <«! -Lit >< >»va !;?<<. si )»!' Wt c- f 01 v>j «t> 
frxraoS',, i« )0)2< x k; i; , j/h <'. lr 4 <t , „; 
she odd-hoi voWm- on tbi* exchange has o,rov</n 
from f>'(,2«J i<> i \ >£.;., in the >,>nie jx.-ck.d 

f^wther chart ,sbo«e<S oyt total oambcroi ».!><- -svixh <ujti>aK:is- >,e-!k n of >h, ,. .. 

I<) <.<.u,(>t u! will: oO^fXXf in l<i(J '"on,, 
».« >!-. n<arh $ tiiiitt ,i~ (an.; :'!•-.„-:;...<- 
x <- « »> sas ••« "f<i«s toss, uicreissti 
" N! ' >' f So » if or <■!*« >rj'« n v ,,< 
.-note k« s , ,-S- ,.-, tver !>eiort, Hu- celt of ■ -. 
comkatkos.-s leased »io.-s. fc-iepborjes sicker* ;ra-( 
ftoeregtMers to i p< I Oo.v. iM.f> n ,iho , > . iy. ? r 
$5 ' . Ilboo ir 05% A>j v.hfH ! -s , t 

spec. ^f.O.iXSO f or ix W brochures icK-crti »» 
aosi u-M Mich service, vt n>mr d ,~ hijljll 1 
59--*. I Mt-kove bonus «ooi }>•., u '^hating eontn 

■. . (' «. If, 

: o ■>«.•;■>, 

- - * r. 

I -x-t-i 

' (..«-(•! 

O IfcllKW 


'.'<■ CSSiifS? 

■'■5 «»«<«: 

/O. .< «S<«S 

. >r l . . - < : 


; . - . < .» » . tr > 


!• ,. 'W 




>■ . 


Figure 4— Continued. 

ing stream of information in reports the organization could 
not operate. 

In the horse-and-buggy days of industry in America it was 
possible for the man in charge of a company's production to 
keep informed on every phase of operation by personal obser- 
vation; he didn't need reports because he knew what was going 

Reports: What and Why 


wis .>n.l iistiro showed heyoxKi <j<*-;ro><; <:>.<r. .•<*! .1.-<<>.H *-..-> : 

fo h;xd dor,,: well. Said .Mr. Merri-ib '7 /^w.'v whcthc. thfcir is 

«><? >/*>/ *»•« /.'»-<•!' urhim-tJ i}v p;iUi»n (« <><<!< only K-.nonMhi 

r* hectumt af "ur ptfittet.. And i>> ike <li%r« ihly, s»>; Uicixi 
«■<? strut!) </dh(f<- t» tbc-m, <<> fre tx(t»i that 

W how h.xl those broad (..oisric-s 

bearish ,,r b> 

K«> [.of into picric to J*r*6« tbt> imlivuw.1 «,v 

to W <fc-<.-<%.< >«/» s» atilowvrt , . * SVt- ley 
to sers* both $.»ull .»><! Lirge bsvcstors a.wrdhK; 
to their o*«i->. Wc bebuve sixce'.s. m ;>ny business 
isgjwnital o;s ihf puunipH: «>:' (be gfi^ttsi g«><! 

fhfciiUk- <>f wealthy jfldiviw.ns, we behave our 
'fw&KM would never ime rWu**d it* pro** pro- 
«or*H» without the patroo.g, of many thooW* 

Figure 4— Continued. 

on himself. The amount of personal observing a man can do 
is strictly limited, however, and if he calls in no help his com- 
pany will have to stay small enough for him to patrol and 
supervise personally. Reports, then, by supplying information 
to supplement what the executive can observe for himself, are 
an extension of the executive's limited physical capacity to ob- 


Report Writing 

ikAh.i o. 

i'i nut a rare oti.i;fiC(v-.: for a jj/eaWc ?• 
!>c retur.-is-d .ifcer .1 rirsful srialysii with 
;V<efl<J,UsVn< for ,im cWȣe in hoiclingv 

VI' hit tie r'ljtrr ,: o<o iuue ;<i cut rii.tiamen . , . 
We jbo.-oegM). investigate f;?s<, ixukt'rig :-->»e thai 
the contpaov >rt*i«j< imo. <apifjj hit-, iwmfinj; ia '* 
Us iticoirry, ti in ;> f.ivt.r.:b!c tun ^irdctv? position 
and is. fos.ujci;<fiy sctajni. };ve<ytfiinr> ibtsut tbebnsi- 
tjess -~«fs JMsr record «r.ei <« fateta- OuftooS; '■■■■■& 


i>le .hcc 


We will Hot parti: 
cattaot in tarn oita 
security suiwhk- .for 

Whin ne i<V. uulhsti- u-<urUitt to 'mr i»» 
cr> . Oier* art o«(v 2^0 iartfuih «!m«| issue;. 
thai; we will boy aud sex; <W o.o owo .icroum. sod 
th>.n ait ?;->•; r>nJ;. ones «-!.> will sell to ouy\<«t:o<??ets 
(»» .t '.vt price" b»sis. We will «\ W ,«. K .riic Uk 
zU when otsls o« a torr-iris'i^isst; h.r-.k, .u:u 10 •ti- 
.sars; nor eusrorasrs th«r best p<»sih3« price, our 
tr*ek-« are recjaisKsi 'to cflftch tirices. with ,sr. least 
i.btee ckalefs before tixtcatbg *orh an <»r<l*rr. 

stair ;..n the busk prernise :;>.u "there is no r».»o:n 
in Che rr.irUrpi,!., |'., r the uronfonrmi srieewjastt 
■;r fu> •;><<•. v> t'.'to-.if the /inanaa? ;)bf?>t> :•; .rsseme 

Figure A.— Continued. 

serve, just as machines are an extension of the worker's limited 
bodily capacity to produce. Just as machines have made mod- 
ern industrial production possible, reports have made possible 
modern industrial management and the management and co- 
ordinated control of all large, complex organizations. Reports 

Reports: What and Why 


::«»£ f.socr should be Stodied carefuii 
iRg tooniwlit; taur** trurW T. 
speculator and hedge* wiift «}Ho-cbf 



our newsyvire about trade developments and market 

d*<ly~un<i weekly coowiodiry fetter's plus (a.roerous 

faeturcts, pcoressots ;snd faints how they «t» 
prpaxi their irusatoties :»>d to broaden {><Mk 
uodsrstao.feg df the ttwrfsks, We have distriSxired 
rhousands of copies of" our 'booklet, "How To B«y 
and Sef! f.ommodkies."' awd ws have shown oof 
«!<» "M; i tk«|.»!a..e U.S.A." ar hundreds of tr«d* 

<•<••<««,', . . . New members of oar safe fotcc go 
through a lompreheo.WYS six oio-uhs roarse rover- 
ir»> .sit phas** of toe security business beiW tfcey 

. . . We *Im ,-otnluU a t»o.>«r apprentice pro- 
ftnrn to young roeo an<! w,fee« »to to* just 
graduated from college. These Aj.Yc.re02.kes. ender- 


ra pr 

.aliv every depao.rr.enr i« Metr-JS iv/rich, At 
customers, and therefore we have <e.«fe every 

„.. , ..i...J:iiiJ 

Figure 4— Continued. 

promise to be even more useful tools of management in the 
future ( see pp. 311-58 ) . 

Reports Develop Future Executives. A report has a job to 
do, a job of transmitting information. Yet a report may carry 
more than its information: it may carrv an impression of the 


Report Writing 

effort K> ->izff ,>ur osikes with caccM;) tcfeefeil 
assd v.cti usiissed pero.isscei. 

y>> ^y>«t atttare fra(i>.<i£ for the <«ke ■ >! hmiM 
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man who wrote it, of his carefulness and accuracy, of his ability 
to sift out important material from unimportant, of his organiz- 
ing skill and his use of language, of his knowledge and under- 
standing of his specialization, of his ability to follow directions. 
And it is the nature of reports to go up instead of down; most 
reports are read by superior officers. Thus the report offers a 

Reports: What and Why 15 

rare opportunity to prove the writer's worth to the men who 
have the authority to advance him. As Sherman Perry says in 
Let's Write Good Letters: 

Not many opportunities come to write a report. But when the one 
opportunity does come, it offers the writer a wonderful chance to show 
the quality of his mind and the order of his method. A terse report so 
clear and logical that it commands the respect of an official may he the 
turning point in a career* 

Not only does the report display ability, it helps develop it. 
The process of looking up the answers to management's ques- 
tions gives practice in using the methods and tools of research, 
makes the report writer more familiar with his field and the or- 
ganization he is working with, and builds an awareness of 
management's perspective— the broad view. 

And so— if the boss holds out an assignment and says "Give 
me a report on this by Monday"— it is not so much a chore as 
an opportunity and a challenge. 

Exercises and Problems 

1. If there were suddenly to be no more reports at your college, 
what would break down first? What next? Trace the various func- 
tions of administration, from heating the classrooms to reporting the 
grades, from planning the curriculum to scheduling the major 
dances, to see how long each function could be carried on without 

2. Try the same experiment with an industry or a retail store 
that you are familiar with. Ask an independent businessman how 
many reports he writes to the government alone (include forms as 
reports) in the course of a year. 

3. How does the function of the Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner 
& Beane report differ from those of the other reports reproduced in 
Chapter 1? 

4. Here is an advertisement from a magazine. Would you call 
it a report, or not? Discuss your reasons. 

* Sherman Perry, Let's Write Good Letters ( Middletown, Ohio: The Amer- 
ican Rolling Mill Co., 1942), p. 142. 


Report Writing 

It is difficult to write a definition of the American way. 
But it is easy to find good examples. Here is one: 


Who got the hundred million dollars? 

He walked into our office seven years ago, sat down. 
We knew the customer. And a wonderful credit rat- 
ing he had, too. 

Said he wanted airplane engines. By that time blue- 
prints were scattered all over the place. 

He was taking no chances. Not one engine would 
he accept without testing first, stripping apart, build- 
ing up again, and testing once more Hmm! 

And more. Every engine he bought would be over- 
hauled after 15 running hours. 

He didn't say so, but he must have known we 
would have ideas, too. (Lights burn all night when 
engineers at our place see ways to improve things we 

The climax was last August. The customer an- 
nounced that he would allow 1,200 hours flying time 
from these G-E engines before an overhaul. 

In other words, 80 times as many hours without 
overhaul as seven years ago. And today only every 
tenth engine is tested twice before delivery because 
of what has been referred to as the "perfection rate" 
of G-E jet engines. 

Oh, yes. The hundred million dollars. With 
General Electric engines now giving extended serv- 
ice, not so many are needed. Improvements have 
saved the customer that much in five years. 

P. S. Who's the customer ? The U. S. Air Force. 
And what was the engine? The J-47 jet engine. 

And who got the hundred million dollar saving? 
Who profits from more Air Force per dollar ? The tax- 
payer, everybody. This story is one more example of 
what happens where research men and engineers are 
at work. Products gain in efficiency, do more. New 
products emerge, and the public is always the gainer. 


^ can Znt/ yoat, (xm/me?ice in,—. 

■neralHI electric 

Figube 5. An Advertisement. (By permission of General Electric Company.) 

Reports: What and Why 17 

5. Several report-writing textbooks list many types of reports- 
"classifications" of reports by subject matter, function, etc. Since 
industrial practice and textbook theory do not agree on such classifi- 
cations, they have been omitted from this book (see Preface, p. v). 
However, you might find it interesting to talk with a report-writing 
professional in business, industry, or one of the professions to see 
what classifications of reports, if any, he distinguishes. It would 
be worth while to report to the class on the interview. 

6. Check the periodical indexes under reports, reporting; read 
and review for your class at least two current articles. 

Chapter 2 

This information we are asked to report, where do 
we find it? What facts and ideas have dollars and cents value 
to a firm? Let's clarify the difference between most college 
term papers and reports : typically, term papers have no $ and $ 
value; they are merely exercises designed to familiarize students 
with the facilities of libraries and to give them practice in find- 
ing and organizing material. Reports are worth what it costs 
to hire you for a day or a week, or you would not be assigned 
the job. College term papers often cause students to wonder 
what to write about; on-the-job reports never raise that ques- 
tion. The subject of a report is assigned; the report writer 
knows very well what he is to write about. His first problem is 
then to find the information, the facts and ideas, to put into his 
report— and he must be sure these facts and ideas are the real 
thing. They must ring true; if they are untrue or half true the 
decisions the executive will base on them will be poor decisions, 
and the report will be worse than no good— it will be an actual 
liability causing $ and ^ loss to the firm. 

Tom Looked at the Pump. One of my University of Cincin- 
nati Evening College students missed the class meeting which 
dealt with ways of gathering material for a report. He came 
up before the next class meeting to explain, and to ask what he 
had missed. He is an engineer for a pump manufacturing com- 
pany. On the night of the meeting he missed, the boss had 
called him and told him to take the train for Charleston, West 
Virginia, to investigate an emergency breakdown of a pump 
installation there. The engineer (let's call him Tom) hastily 
gathered up a set of specifications on the pump, which was a 
five-year-old model, threw some clothes into a suitcase, and 
took a cab to the 9:15. 


Locating Material 19 

On the way to Charleston he read over the specifications 
carefully to get the operational details of the pump clearly in 
mind. He got off the train at Charleston, took a cab to the 
plant where the pump was installed, and was met at the gate 
by the plant engineer. On the way to the pump the plant 
engineer told him all the pump's symptoms; Tom took a few 
notes and asked a few questions to pin down the length of time 
the pump had been behaving oddly. 

When he had learned all the plant engineer knew of the 
difficulty, Tom went to work on the pump itself. He took it 
apart carefully and made notes on what he saw. He was able 
to make a temporary repair that had not occurred to the plant 
engineer; he promised that a defective part would be replaced 
by noon the next day and phoned back to Cincinnati to make 
sure the part would be put on the next train. 

Then he went to his hotel, got a few hours' sleep, picked up 
the new part at the station, installed it, and took the train him- 
self. On the way back to Cincinnati he wrote a three-page 
report of his trip, consulting his notes frequently; his main 
emphasis was placed on the factors that had caused the pump 
to fail, as well as he could determine them from what he had 

I told Tom he hadn't missed a thing; he had shown on his 
trip an excellent grasp of the methods of gathering information 
for a report. "I did?" said Tom. "Why, I just read about the 
pump, and asked questions about the pump, and looked at 
the pump. What's unusual about that?" 

"Nothing unusual," I said, "but that's my lecture in a nut- 

Observation. In my lecture I had called the first method of 
gathering material observation. Everything that we know from 
experience we have gathered by observation; we know that 
rocks are heavy and too much sun causes sunburn and too 
much of the wrong kind of food causes indigestion. A good 
look at a production line or an airplane or a shopping center 
establishes the relationship of its parts or units better than many 
thousands of words can do, especially if we know what to 
look for. 

Observation requires background; if we don't know what to 
look for we might as well not look. I can hold up a mirror 

20 Report Writing 

and look at my throat when I'm hoarse and learn nothing; the 
doctor who lives next door can take one glance and come up 
with an accurate diagnosis. Of course, observation builds back- 
ground also— it may be that if I pay close attention to what my 
throat looks like when the doctor says I'm sick and what it looks 
like when he says I'm not, I'll develop the ability to make a 
reasonably accurate guess myself. 

The answer to the question "Can we trust information 
gathered by observation as much as information gathered by 
interrogation or research?" can be answered only by "It de- 
pends on who's doing the looking." My observation of the 
pump at Charleston, West Virginia, would be interesting to me 
but useless to any firm; all I could say about the pump after 
observing it would be "It doesn't work, does it?" I couldn't 
even guess the reason for its trouble. Tom, the engineer from 
the pump company, had the background to do far more than 
make a guess— his statement was a careful analysis of observed 

Interrogation or Field Research. The second method of 
gathering information I had called interrogation. Interroga- 
tion (sometimes called field research) includes all asking of 
questions, from carefully organized questionnaires and inter- 
views to random discussion. Valuable information can be 
gained from random discussion; for example, intelligence in- 
vestigators in preparing reports on security risks often discuss 
the person being investigated with several of his associates or 
acquaintances. Knowing that direct questions often stifle the 
communication process, the investigators sometimes let the per- 
son interviewed develop the interview after its direction has 
been established. 

Generally, however, directed discussion or planned inter- 
views are more useful to the investigator. The plan of the in- 
terview should be informal and somewhat flexible so that the 
person interviewed will not feel that he is being grilled— but 
for nearly all interviews there should be a plan, somewhat as 

Identify yourself, and establish the purpose of the interview briefly, 
keeping in mind that an elaborate justification of your position is not 
needed and that interested as you are in your subject-matter, bringing 

Locating Material 21 

the person interviewed up-to-date on all your research will waste his time 
and tend to invalidate the answers he gives you (he might give answers 
based on what you have just told him about your research or aimed at 
pleasing you by helping prove your theory ) . 

Ask the easy questions and the background questions first, permitting 
some digression by the person interviewed but holding in the long run 
to the main points you need to cover. 

Ask the hard questions (if any) very carefully. Don't force an answer 
if one does not come. Don't try to get the person interviewed to over- 
simplify a complex problem into a yes or no problem. Don't expect all 
the facts and figures to be at his fingertips; if he needs to do some research 
to answer, suggest that you call back the next day or that he send you 
his reply. 

Give him a chance to follow up any of his answers and to ask you ques- 
tions before closing the interview. 

Thank him for his help; if possible, tell him you'll send him a copy of 
the report. It is good personal public relations for you and good public 
relations for your organization to make him feel well pleased with the 
interview and confident that he has spent his time constructively. 

Go somewhere else and record your notes. Only statistics and ad- 
dresses should be recorded during the interview— and when no statistics 
are being discussed the notebook and pencil should stay in the pocket. 
Be sure to record the date, name, and exact title of the person interviewed. 

It is not always possible to carry on interrogation by direct 
questioning; sometimes the persons to be questioned live so far 
apart or are so numerous that it would be prohibitively expen- 
sive to talk with them personally. The questionnaire is the 
solution to such a problem. A carefully prepared question- 
naire can gather hundreds or thousands of replies at a cost of 
only a few cents for each reply. In some ways the question- 
naire is actually superior to the interview. It does not rely on 
the interviewer's memory, and it is easily tabulated and filed. 
It restricts the answers to the subject, and it makes sure that 
all answers are to the same question, phrased and asked in the 
same way; it is not dependent on the personality and possible 
bias of an interviewer. It makes repeat surveying easier. It is 
not influenced by the answers given by others in the hearing 
of the person interviewed. Henry Plexico of the Federal Bureau 
of Investigation reports that when information must be obtained 
from several persons in circumstances where some would over- 
hear parts of interviews with others, the best method of secur- 

22 Report Writing 


1061 W. 35th STREET 


December 1953 

Dear Friend: 

For many months the Spiegel catalog has been advertised on many radio 
and television programs and in many magazines and newspapers. 

Perhaps you have seen our catalog or heard about it on THIS IS YOUR LIFE, 
HOUSE PARTY, or other programs. 

We have tried to get across a few basic ideas about shopping from the big 
Spiegel Home Shopping Book. Now we would like to find out how good a job we 
have done in having these ideas understood 

And that's where you come in. We need your help. 

The back of this letter contains a SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE designed to give us 
the information we need It's a very simple questionnaire to answer. 

It will take only a few minutes of your time to check the answers to the 
questions. . .but it will be a big help to us. When you've finished filling out 
the questionnaire place it in the self-addressed envelope enclosed and send it 
back. We pay postage. No stamp needed. 

We hope you will help us, and thank you in advance. 

s*~\ Sincerely, 


P. S. We would like to show you our appreciation for your help. Our way of 
doing this is explained at the end of the questionnaire. 


Figure 6. Covering Letter and Questionnaire. (By permission of Spiegel.) 

Locating Material 23 


Market Research Department, 1061 W. 35th Street, Chicago 9, Illinois 

Check YES or NO After Each Question 

1. Have you bought from Spiegel within the last year? Yes £j No [~ 

2. Have you ever seen a Spiegel Store? Yes [~ No [j 

If "Yes" what kind of Store was it? 

3. Have you seen a Spiegel Catalog within the last year? , Yes £j No £j 

If "Yes" where did you see it? 

4. Did you ever hear about or see the Spiegel catalog on p radio or TV show? . . Yes f~j No [~ 

If "Yes" which program or programs was it on? 

5. Do you think that catalog shopping: 

a. Is convenient 

b. Offers good styles 

c. Saves money 

d. Gives good quality 

e. Is in good taste 

6. Have you had any other mail order catalog in the past 5 years? . 
If "Yes" which ones? 

Yes D 



No a 


No a 


no a 


no a 


no a 

7. Use this space for additional comments: 

Thank you for your cooperation. To show our appreciation, I shall be glad to mail you a free catalog 
if you fill out the information below: 

Dear Mr. Fisher: 

Please send me the 480 page Spiegel Home Shopping Book for Spring and Sum- 
mer, 1954. If I order from it, I may keep it, otherwise I shall return it at your request. 


Rural Rural Post Office 

Route Number Box Number Box Number 

Street Address . 

W21— 3 

City . State. 

(Please specify Zone if any) 

Figure 6— Concluded. 

24 Report Writing 

ing unbiased information is to have each person fill out a 
questionnaire or simply write a report of what happened.* 

A questionnaire can be more definitely planned than an in- 
terview; since it will be printed in quantity there is no oppor- 
tunity for flexibility. Questionnaires vary greatly in length and 
complexity, but a good general plan would be the following: 

Ask for the cooperation of your reader. Don't explain enough of what 
you are trying to do to affect the answers he will give, but do your best 
to make him feel that this project is worth while. He will fill the blanks 
more carefully if he wants to answer the questionnaire than if he does not 
want to. Be brief; your reader should get to the questionnaire proper 
without delay. 

Explain how the mechanics of the questionnaire works. The ques- 
tionnaire should be so easy to fill out that the instructions can be reduced 
to a sentence or two. 

Ask the questions. Set up the questions with enough white space to 
leave them uncrowded. Make them as easy to answer as possible; pro- 
ceed in easy stages with the easiest question first, avoid such difficult 
chores as ranking several items or factors in order of preference, and 
whenever possible supply alternative choices that can be marked with a 
check ("Where do you do most of your shopping? In the sub- 
urban markets. Downtown. Don't know.") Make the 

questions clear; avoid involved sentences and ambiguous words such 
as "kind." ("What kind of car do you drive?" might be answered Buick, 
sedan, used, British, sports.) Make the questions specific; they should 
ask for facts rather than motives, the particular rather than the general, 
points that can be known and remembered with certainty rather than 
hazy guesses. Avoid all questions which by their wording or their per- 
sonal nature seem to call for one answer rather than the other ("Do you 
use Colgate's tooth paste?" "Do you use alcoholic beverages to excess?") 
Avoid all questions which contain more than one main factor to be evalu- 
ated ("Why did you buy a National prefabricated home?" might involve 
the need to have a home, factors of price, the company's advertising, the 
arguments of the salesman, various local conditions in the building trade. ) 

Secure name, address, and background information such as age, occu- 
pation, income group, from the person filling out the questionnaire as an 
aid in evaluating the data in the study which is to be made. 

The selection of the persons to whom the questionnaire will 
be sent is of vital importance; the validity of a questionnaire 

* Lecture, Cincinnati Police Academy, May, 1954. 

Locating Material 



How would you rate these LIFE Filmstrips according to the following plan- 
A = excellent B = good C = fair D = poor 

Selection of 

of material 



The Atom 

Middle Ages 



Using LIFE Filmstrips 

Do you ever use the filmstrips without verbal commentary? 

Do you lecture while showing them? Do you find the Lecture Notes helpful 

Have you any suggestions as to how the Lecture Notes might be improved? 

Do you feel that the organization of the filmstrips allows you enough freedom to make your own 


What is the approximate size of the frames as projected on your screen?. 

What is the average age of your audience? 

What has been the general audience reaction? 

Granted that the best color reproduction is still imperfect, do you feel that LIFE Filmstrips should 
continue to use color? 

Would you be interested in having study prints (black-and-white, enlarged duplicates of the frames, 
mounted separately) for prolonged study ? 

Would you find small posters useful in publicizing your showings of LIFE Filmstrips? 

Which of the following subjects, now in preparation or under consideration for future release, would 
you find most interesting? 

□ Renaissance Venice □ Houses V. S. A. fj Age of Enlightenment □ Egypt 

□ The Holy Land □ The Navajos □ History of Theatre □ Ancient Rome 

□ The History of Transportation □ 1 848 : Year of Revolutions 
What new subjects would you suggest for LIFE Filmstrips? 



Figure 7. Questionnaire. (By permission of Life.) 

26 Report Writing 

study is dependent on whether the portion of a group selected 
(the "sample") is representative of the whole group.* 

Research. The final method of gathering information, re- 
search, sends us to the card catalogues and reference guides of 
company libraries, public and college libraries, and government 
agencies. To the beginner in research the many files and in- 
dexes may seem like a pain in the neck, but to the professional 
they are the key to the world's knowledge. Anyone who begins 
to study a problem today is luckier than all who studied it 
before him— even the great pioneers in his field— because with 
the help of these research tools he can start where they left off. 

We have only the space to supply a few hints and sugges- 
tions on research procedures and to refer you to sources of 
fuller information. Do not ignore the "Selected Bibliography" 
at the back of this book. In it we have listed index materials 
and major or representative sources of information in all the 
major fields where you will likely work. Here we will cite three 
useful guides, any one of which will save you countless steps 
and many hours of labor: 

Coman, Edwin T. Sources of Business Information. New York: Prentice- 
Hall, Inc., 1949. A bibliographical handbook for all the major industrial 
fields, with full index. 

Dalton, Blanche H. Sources of Engineering Information. Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 1948. A full classified listing of abstracts 
and digest services, lists of periodical articles, bibliographies, and ref- 
erence books. 

Williams, Cecil B., and Allan H. Stevenson. A Research Manual ( 2d 
ed. ). New York: Harper & Bros., 1951. A general introductory guide 
to research writing. See especially Chapters ii and iii, "The Library and 
Its Role in Research Writing," "Library Reference Tools." 

There are other valuable guides, and even your composition 
handbook may prove helpful. The main point is, don't go it 
blind; don't go stumbling around in a library for lack of con- 
sulting one or more of the available guidebooks. 

* Good books on interviewing are Walter V. Bingham and Bruce V. Moore, 
How to Interview (New York: Harper & Bros., 1941); Anne Fenlason, Essentials 
in Interviewing (New York: Harper & Bros., 1952); and James D. Weinland 
and Margaret V. Gross, Personnel Interviewing (New York: The Ronald Press 
Co., 1952). An excellent discussion of the preparation and use of questionnaires 
appears in Lyndon O. Brown, Marketing and Distribution Research (3rd ed.; 
New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1955). 

Locating Material 27 

Now for a few pointers. First of all, make good use of the 
reference room. Here are the encyclopedias, dictionaries, hand- 
books, atlases, and numerous and various bibliographies and 
indexes. It is important at the outset to get the subject 
bounded, to secure general information on it. Thus you will 
know better what detailed source materials to look for and be 
able to use them more efficiently when you get them. In all 
reference tools, the arrangement is alphabetical; if you know 
the alphabet forwards and backwards, you can turn to any sub- 
ject in an instant. The Guide to Reference Books, early edi- 
tions by Isador Mudge and the current one by Constance 
Winchell, is the standard manual on reference room resources. 

Second, learn to use a card index efficiently. Most books in 
a library are entered by at least three cards: author card, title 
card, and one or more subject cards— so if you can think of the 
author's last name or the first important word in the title, you 
can find the book easily. But if you can't think of either, then 
look under the most likely subject entry and other related 
entries if the first doesn't work. Note that subject entries are 
themselves bibliographies, that is, lists of related materials. 
Looking under them often supplies you with other materials to 
add to the title you were looking for. 

Third, get acquainted with the various magazine indexes and 
learn to use them efficiently. An enormous amount of valuable 
material which never gets collected into books is published in 
all kinds of magazines and other periodicals. Soon after pub- 
lication, it would become almost as hopelessly lost as the pro- 
verbial haystack needle if it weren't for the indexes. But with 
the help of the Readers' Guide, Industrial Arts Index, Engi- 
neering Index, Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS), 
and other more specialized indexes, you can get at it quickly— 
if your library has the magazine referred to. Winifred Greg- 
ory's Union List of Serials and American Newspapers, and 
Elizabeth Bowerman's Union List of Technical Periodicals will 
quickly inform you on the periodical holdings of your own and 
other libraries. 

Fourth, learn how to make use of government publications: 
federal, state, and local. The U. S. Department of Commerce 
issues annually a List of Selected Publications; likewise the U. S. 

28 Report Writing 

Bureau of the Census, Census Publications; and there is the 
more general United States Government Publications: Monthly 
Catalog. Your reference room or document room librarian can 
tell you of other listings, and also acquaint you with holdings 
of your own college or city library. 

Fifth, develop a proper working relationship with librarians. 
Use them as advisers and guides, not as crutches to lean on. 
You should know such basic things as what library classifica- 
tion system your library uses— Dewey Decimal or Library of 
Congress— and you should learn the main classifications of the 
system, especially if your library is of the modern open-shelf 
type. It is more thrilling to find things for oneself; a writer 
worth his salt is at home in libraries; but at the same time it is 
foolish to spend hours looking for something that a librarian 
could guide you to almost instantly. Librarians know too of 
such special features as loose-leaf files and clipping services and 
microfilm and microprint holdings. 

Remember always that reports must be informative— full and 
accurate. They should be well written, but no writing can be 
good enough to atone for inadequate or undependable subject 

Conclusion. It all boils down to what Tom, the engineer, 
did about the pump: 




The best information- getting uses more than one of these ways. 
Common-sense observation and experience help to check the 
statements in the book or the results of the questionnaire, and 
an interview with an experienced professional will often save 
time and serious errors when the report writer is working in an 
unfamiliar field. 

Sometimes information-gathering takes time and costs 
money; it's worth it. The information is the whole point of the 
report— a decision, often a vitally important one, will be based 
on it. The decision requires one link of information plus an- 
other plus another plus another— and the decision is no stronger 
than its weakest link. 

Locating Material 29 

Exercises and Problems 

1. What methods of gathering information would you use in 
writing these reports? 

The current shift to the buyer's market in the shoe industry. 

Advisability of establishing a roller rink in (city, state). 

Current trends in automobile advertising. 

A financial history of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. 

A proposed safety program for Company. 

A study of wage incentive systems in operation. 

An economic forecast. 

Advantages of installing new pickling tank. 

Plant layout of a cutting die shop. 

Required protection from radiation in radioisotope laboratory. 

Methods of preventing excessive drying in shipments of de- 
hydrated alfalfa. 

Early experiments and progress in public relations policy- 

Aptitude testing methods in personnel administration. 

Cost analysis of proposed installation of 

2. Interview someone who prepares reports (perhaps the in- 
structor will invite an industrial executive to class so that you will 
have an hour to ask him questions) to find out specifically how he 
gets his information. 

3. Take a refresher tour of the library to make sure you know 
where all the reference guides are. Pick one of the topics from 
Problem 1 above, or another topic that interests you more, and see 
how many references you can find on it in ten minutes. If you run 
into any problems, ask the librarian for help. 

4. Prepare a questionnaire which could be used to gather in- 
formation on some local or campus problem. 

5. Discuss the questions ( see p. 30 ) sent to alumni of Ross Col- 
lege to determine alumni opinion before preparing recommendations 
to the Board of Trustees. 

30 * Report Writing 

Student Housing 

All college campuses face the mutual problem of temporary, 
inadequate housing. At Ross College, the normal housing capacity 
for men and women is 1214. The normal capacities of many rooms 
are expanded by placing another person or two in each of them. 
Through these expanded facilities, Ross College can house 1585 
students. The enrollment this year totals 2720. Approximately 350 
students are living in fraternity houses and annexes. The rest are 
living in private homes in Camden and vicinity, as well as in "The 
Rarracks," University operated temporary housing. 

A handbook entitled "Rules and Regulations Governing Student 
Activities and Student Organizations" reflects an official opinion of 
the standards of this temporary housing: 

"Sophomores who desire to live in College Housing facilities are 
assigned to the Rarracks unless they have lived in them during the 
greater part of their freshman year for emergency reasons. 

"It is planned that sophomores and transfer students assigned to 
The Rarracks shall live there no longer than for two semesters. 
Experience has indicated, however, that it is not always possible to 
move men eligible for halls to such halls at the end of two semesters 
because of lack of hall spaces. Men remaining will always be 
moved as soon as possible in order of numbers drawn at drawings." 

Living conditions in town are often far below standard, and 
room rents are more often far in excess of College rates and the 
students' pocketbooks. In many cases sanitary facilities are ex- 
tremely inadequate. There are fire hazards, overcrowding, and lack 
of proper study facilities. 

1. Should Ross College exercise control over all student housing in town? 

2. Should all Ross men, as well as women, be required to live in College- 
approved residences? 

3. Should student room rents in town be controlled, and be based on 
reasonable, minimum requirements set by the College for student 
housing? . 

4. Should Ross College set a time by which it hopes to abolish The 
Barracks— and also bring back the pre-war standard of two students 

Locating Material 31 

per room in all Residence Halls— and then work toward that time 
goal? — 

Freshmen women in College Residence Halls are guided by a 
house chairman, who is a junior woman, and counselors selected 
from the sophomore class, as well as the Housemother especially 
selected for her job by the College. The women students serving 
in the afore-mentioned positions receive no pay for these services, 
and are rewarded only with possible election to some service honor- 
ary in the last two years. 

Freshmen men living in College Residence Halls are guided by 
upperclassmen, also known as counselors, who receive free room 
accommodations in return for their counseling services. 

5. Do you believe that your Long Range Committee should recommend 
a change in this policy to provide for equality in the recognition of 
student counselor services? 

In connection with student housing, the question of sorority 
houses has again arisen. At present, most sororities are allotted a 
suite ( living room and kitchenette ) in the women's Residence Halls. 

6. Do you think the sorority house question should be reviewed again? 

7. In your opinion, should Ross have sorority houses built and owned 
by the College? . 

Chapter 3 


Protect Yourself from Your Material. The more in- 
vestigating you do, the more material you find; and the more 
books, articles, surveys, charts, tables, and statistical sum- 
maries you accumulate on and around your desk, the harder it 
is to start writing. One of the strangest paradoxes of the writ- 
ing game is that the person who takes most cheerfully to 
research for writing and who is most industrious in the accumu- 
lation of the raw materials for manuscript production is often 
the one who achieves the fewest books, articles, and reports. 
A friend of mine has been working twenty years on a biog- 
raphy of an English writer and publisher; he has gathered so 
much information in tangible form that he can barely find room 
to sit in his study. He doesn't sit in his study much, however, 
because the bulk of material facing him scares him away; he is 
now further from writing his book than he has ever been. He 
spends his time gathering more material so that he won't have 
to sort the stuff in his study. Unless the study burns down hell 
never write the book. 

There are two ways I know of to protect yourself from your 
material— don't gather so much, and don't gather it in tangible 
form so that it stacks up. 

The first way has its points— many research men don't know 
when to quit researching and start reporting. You don't have 
to read all the books going back to the seventeenth century on 
road building to prepare a report on the best road construction 
method for the loading, delivery, parking, and traffic circula- 
tion area of an industrial site. Neither do you have to become 
an expert on cosmetology to lay out the floor plan for the cos- 
metics department of a shopping center branch of a depart- 
ment store. An important part of the research plan is the 


Organizing Facts and Ideas 33 

setting of a kind of practical limit to the research— a limit based 
on time available, budget, geography ( distance from major re- 
search centers and libraries), but, most of all, on the needs 
which motivated the research project in the first place. 

The second way to protect yourself from your material is to 
gather it in your mind instead of in bulk— to learn it instead of 
to accumulate it. It is just as easy, once you have got into the 
habit, to read something so as to know it, as to read it to know 
where it is. If you read to know you will take few notes, and 
the ones you do take will be the shortest possible notes that 
will recall to your mind the situation or statistic that you en- 
countered in your reading. These brief notes, called minimal 
cue notes, will be discussed in the next few pages. If you read 
to know you will be able to write your report out of your mind ? 
directly and freely, rather than haltingly by looking up and 
combing material from several sources spread out on the desk 
or on the desk and the floor around your chair. Professor W. S. 
Campbell, Director of Professional Writing at the University of 
Oklahoma, reporting on his experiences as a Rhodes Scholar at 
Oxford University, said that the most valuable part of his train- 
ing was the writing of source papers purely from memory— 
with no recourse to books or notes. Reports written from the 
resources of your mind after you have completed your research 
differ basically from reports written by combining source mate- 
rials through the direct cutting and pasting or paraphrasing 
methods of the hack writer. Rudolf Flesch describes the differ- 
ence in his book How To Make Sense: 

... To write and speak well— to make sense— you have to live fully in 
both worlds, the outer and the inner. You have to have experiences first, 
as much experience as possible, facts, pictures, events that fill your mind. 
Then, after you have done your work in taking notes or at least observ- 
ing and learning, you ought to forget all that you have learned. Let it 
sink down into your unconscious, it's the only place where it will do you 
any good. And then, when the moment of communication is here— to an 
audience or at least to yourself— pour it out without thinking, pull it up 
again from your unconscious by the act of writing and speaking, and you 
will have something that you can communicate successfully. Otherwise— 
if you collect material and then laboriously reproduce that material for 
your listeners or readers— you haven't contributed anything in the process: 
you are just a parrot or a phonograph. There won't be any life in what 
you say or write, because you haven't given it any life. You were afraid: 


Report Writing 

you didn't have the courage to let it go, drop it into your unconscious and 
get it up again when you needed it. You didn't trust your own powers 
before an audience or before a blank sheet of paper. So you stutter and 
stumble; you hesitate; you erase; you correct; you qualify; you shrink 
back from revealing what is really on your mind. The result is failure.* 

Minimal Cue Notes. Notes are memory aids. They make 
it possible and practical for you to write from the resources of 
your mind. Let's say you find some statistics that you want to 
use in your report: something like the total U. S. imports from 
Latin America in 1953 ($3,442,600,000). It is not necessary to 
memorize such figures, even if your memory is reliable enough 
to be trusted with them; you may write yourself a note about 
them instead. Most writers of reports remember what they 
can— all the general information and most of the specific— and 
use notes to call the rest to their minds, like this: 




Minimal cue notes are not intended for the record; they will 
be valueless after the report is written. In college, students 
take full notes, are proud of them, go back and study them 
before each test, file them sometimes for years. In industry the 
report writer may take notes if his memory needs help with 
the facts and ideas he is gathering; he will keep these notes only 
until the report has been written and will then throw them 

There is no required number of notes for a report, and no 
required form. Both will be determined by the help your 

* Rudolf Flesch, How To Make Sense (New York: Harper & Bros., 1954), 
pp. 165-66. 

Organizing Facts and Ideas 35 

memory needs with the project under way. It is convenient to 
make all your notes on the same size card or sheet of paper, 
and it is wise to list with each note ( at the bottom of the card 
or on the back ) the sources of its information. If the source is 
printed, include the full accurate bibliographical entry in case 
you need it, and note the page number: 


Nielander, William A 
and Raymond, W. Miller 

Public Relations 

New York : The Ronald Press 
Company, 1951 


If your source is an interview, list the date, place, person talked 
with, and his title or position. Sometimes your identification 
data for a note will be quite a bit longer than the note itself. 

About the note itself, and that phrase minimal cue: the less 
you need to put down, the better. If your Great Dane is about 
to sink his teeth in the ankle of your best girl's father, you 
don't waste words ("Hamlet, it is not the thing to do to bite 
my guests, especially the relative of my best girl"; "Please take 
your teeth away from that ankle, old boy"; "Now, Hamlet, you 
know better than that; stop it at once")— the minimal cue is 
"NO!" or "HAM—: NO!" If you are taking notes on a talk made 
at your college by William Whyte, Jr., of Fortune, you would 
not need to waste words like this: 

Mr. Whyte said that he had interviewed a large number of men in 
top management jobs— presidents and vice-presidents— and an equal num- 
ber of personnel directors. He had been trying to find out whether they 
would rather hire and advance to executive work ( 1 ) men who are good 
administrators and good at getting along with people, managing people, 
or (2) men who are imaginative, vigorous, creative— even brilliant— 

36 Report Writing 

leaders, though they may not contribute so well to the harmony of the 
group. He said that in his survey he found the vote 1 to 1, or even, 
among the presidents and vice-presidents, and 3 to 1 in favor of the "good 
administrator type" among the personnel directors. His conclusion wasr 
that high up in a company, on a policy-making level, there is likely to be 
recognition of the importance of imagination, ideas, the courage to strike 
out against majority opinion, the creative urge to reach out into the un- 
known and knock the lid off previously accepted limitations; while in 
middle management, in the personnel office, there is likely to be a glorifi- 
cation of "adjustment to the group" and a de-emphasis of the value of 
individuality and imagination. 

That is the substance of what Mr. Whyte said, yes; but you 
don't need to put half that much down on paper to recall the 
talk to your mind. In fact, if you put that much down on paper 
you'll be writing so fast ( unless you know shorthand * ) that 
you'll miss many points in the talk. 

As we said at the beginning of the chapter, gather most of 
the material for your report in your mind, not on paper. 

I heard Mr. Whyte give this talk, called "Suburbia and the 
New Illiteracy," at the Corning Glass Center, Corning, New 
York, in October, 1953. Here is an exact copy of my own notes 
on the part of his talk summarized earlier: 


l-l yO^mma jfop, /mad 
3-1 ' /OMona, fi£4Mm#z££, sdtMcfoLd/ 

* And if you know shorthand, and write down everything said, what do you 
have? It is like "reading" an article by making a copy of it, word for word. 
Morris Bishop wrote a delightful satire called "The Reading Machine" ( printed 
March 8, 1947, The New Yorker) in which Prof. Entwhistle suggests such a 
method of "reading"— instead of reading an article to find out what is in it, to 
know it, the student merely puts the article in the machine, which "reads" it 
very rapidly and turns out a neat, typewritten copy of what it has "read"— a 
typescript suspiciously similar in appearance to a term paper. 

Organizing Facts and Ideas 


My notes are not special in any way; they are just adequate. 
They serve to bring the results of Bill Whyte's interviews back 
to my mind, and to keep the figures straight. My notes would 
mean very little to anyone but me— but they are not supposed 
to. They are minimal cue notes— the least notes that would be 



/*2 sC&Tlds yd. £ 

Figure 8. Recognize this most common of minimal cue notes? It is a 
grocery shopping list— and it is perfectly clear to its writer. 

helpful to my memory in re-creating the part of this particular 
lecture I want to remember. As you can see, my minimal cue 
notes use abbreviations, and I use indention to indicate main 
points and subtopics. These are not rules for your minimal 
cue notes— there are no rules. You are the one who has to read 
them and understand them. 

Most of your notes, then, for report writing should be mini- 
mal cue notes. The better your memory is— or the better you 
can train it to become— the briefer they can be. However, you 
will need to take a jew fuller notes. Especially, if you want to 
quote something to emphasize or lend authority to a point, 

38 Report Writing 

you will need to write out the quotation note fully and accu- 
rately, to the last capital letter and comma. And for all notes 
on points that will require documentation ( discussed in Chap- 
ter 10), you must be sure to include in every note the exact 
source— author, title, facts of publication, and page or pages. 

Organizing Information. By the time you have reached the 
point of shaping up your report, you have your topic well in 
mind. Without looking up a single point you could give an 
easy, relaxed, extemporaneous summary of your report-to-be. 

So why worry about organizing? Try giving that summary, 
to a friend or in your own mind, and see if the organization 
doesn't pretty much take care of itself. Does it tell the reader 
what he needs to know in the order that makes the most sense? 
If so, go ahead and make your outline, and then start writing. 
If not, see how you can best juggle it around so that it will.* 

Card System of Organizing. You may wish to experiment 
with another excellent method of organizing, the card system. 
I don't use it myself, but those who do swear by it. 

The quickest way to put a shuffled poker deck in order is to 
lay the cards face up on the table in suits, putting each card 
about where you think it belongs and leaving space for the 
others ( see Fig. 9 ) . You keep on dealing until the cards are all 
on the table, and then you pick them up in order. The card 
system of organizing works much the same way. You have 
written all the possible topics you may cover on separate cards, 
and you lay each one down where you think it will fit in the 
finished report, leaving spaces for the others: Again, you keep 
on spreading out cards until all are down. If you don't like the 
completed plan, it is easy to shift the cards until the pattern 
suits you. 

* Rhetoric books and composition handbooks give several kinds of order and 
methods of development, in the whole composition or in paragraphs of it; all 
college students have gone through them at least once. If you feel that you 
need further study in planning and achieving clear organization, consult a good 
text, such as ( 1 ) for paragraphs, Porter Perrin, Writers Guide and Index to 
English (Chicago: Scott, Foresman & Co., 1950), pp. 170-82; (2) for the whole 
composition, Donald Davidson, American Composition and Rhetoric (New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953) chap, ii; Norman Foerster, J. M. Steadman, and 
James B. McMillan, Writing and Thinking (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 
1952), pp. 50-63; or Cecil B. Williams and Allan H. Stevenson, A Research 
Manual (New York: Harper & Bros., 1951), chap. v. 

Organizing Facts and Ideas 



Tht U S Pi 

> il 









♦* A *f 

* * 

* * 

upfelRfc ♦ 

f j 

Figure 9. "Organizing" a Deck of Cards. 

The card system works. The requirement of a system of or- 
ganizing data is that it should work; with practice you can 
make any of several ways work extremely well. 

40 Report Writing 

(Topic: Shopping centers as locations for sporting goods stores) 

(Shopping centers) 

/Sporting goods' 


leatuM* /£ 

(Sporting goods \ 
stores in J 
shopping centers' 





Mete -ck&uMv 


Outlines. A report outline is the skeletal representation of 
the report's organization; if you have used the card system of 
organizing, your outline is a tabular copy of the topics and 
subtopics shown on your cards, arranged in their final order. 

This is a formal outline: 






This is a decimal outline: 







Organizing Facts and Ideas 41 




This is a tabular outline, or informal outline : 

All these systems of outlining work. The formal system is 
still generally used for show, when anyone except the writer is 
likely to see it; college courses and textbooks generally recom- 
mend it. The informal or tabular system is very widely used 
because of its simplicity and convenience; sometimes it is modi- 
fied by the use of Arabic numbers for main headings only. 
Though there has been no widespread study made to give 
actual evidence, my opinion is that most outlines in actual re- 
porting situations use the informal system. The decimal sys- 
tem is the most accurate and foolproof of the three, once it 
has been learned. It is gaining ground steadily at the expense 
of the formal outline; it has been used in many recent articles 
and books, including the major work on information theory, 
The Mathematical Theory of Communication, by Claude E. 
Shannon and Warren Weaver (Urbana: The University of Illi- 
nois Press, 1949). 

Since the headings and subheadings (see pp. 143-46) of the 
completed report will probably come directly from the outline 
topics and subtopics, you should phrase your outline so that 
the topics and subtopics are roughly parallel in structure.* 

* See Porter Perrin, Writer s Guide and Index to English, pp. 670-75. 
Parallel structure means the same kind of grammatical structure for each topic. 
Do not mix sentences with topics ( phrase and name headings and subheadings ) . 
Since it is more graphic and more economical of space, the topical outline is 
preferable to the sentence outline for reports. 

42 Report Writing 

Knowing that the backbone of the outline will show in the 
headings and subheadings of the report should also make you 
choose your outline topics carefully; the outline becomes ac- 
tually a part of the report, and thus its importance becomes 
dramatically clear. 

Exercises and Problems 

1. Attend a meeting, lecture, play, concert, or game; write a 
simple account of what happened from your own memory. Then, 
when the newspaper accounts of the same event are published, write 
the story again, this time using only material paraphrased from the 
papers. Use the two versions as a basis for class comment and dis- 

2. Be on the lookout for "hack writing"— cut-and-paste author- 
ship—in various kinds of publications you read. Collect examples 
if you can. How can such writing be recognized? Possibly your 
school's news bureau can show you a recent press release and a 
dozen "different" stories based on it by different papers. 

3. Read Chapter 8 in How To Make Sense by Rudolf Flesch 
(New York: Harper & Bros., 1954) and report to the class. 

4. Look up "minimal cues" and "mnemonics" in a psychology 
text; report to the class on their application to note-taking as an aid 
to memory. 

5. Go through several pages of your class notes for any one of 
your courses and make minimal cue notes out of them. Hand in a 
sheet of the notes "Before" and "After" to your instructor. 

6. Make an informal study, by interview, of methods of outlining 
in actual use. Find out why each user prefers the form he uses; 
report to the class on your findings. 

Chapter 4 


"You were talking about putting the information in 
your own words, but I can't do it. I can get the information all 
right, and I can get it into an outline that seems to make sense, 
but then I put a blank sheet of paper in the typewriter and 
just stare at it. I can't get even the first line down in my own 

That's his story; his report was late. "Who won the game 
last night?" I asked him. "We did, 97-87," he said. "I missed 
it. Tell me how it went," I said. He told me the story of the 
game without a pause. "Now, that's what I mean," I said. 
"That's telling me in your own words, just what I've been talk- 
ing about. Why can't you do it on paper?" "That's different," 
he said. "Why, I was at the game. I was there." Pause. "I 
guess you're wondering where I was when I was getting stuff 
together for this report," he said. "I guess I was there, too." 
Longer pause. "I guess I'd better just go back to the house 
and start writing it down." "Fine," I said. "No time like the 

Getting Under Way. A lot of writers seem to come without 
built-in self-starters. Actually, it doesn't matter where in a 
report you begin to write— the beginning; the middle; where 
you have the most interest or the most material; or ( as I often 
do) where you have the least interest and the greatest wish to 
get it over with. The important thing is to start— and the best 
place to start is what seems to you the easiest place. 

Take any of the topics or subtopics in your outline and write 
it in pencil at the top of a sheet of paper— notebook paper or 
any kind of paper you have handy. Start to tell about it. Sup- 
pose I asked you to tell me, orally, the answer to the question, 


44 Report Writing 

'What are you going to tell the reader about this topic?'' What 
would you say? Write it down. Allow plenty of space be- 
tween lines and in the margins to make changes; write on 
every other line or every third line. Keep writing. If you 
can't think of a word you want to use, skip it and leave the 
space blank, or put in a substitute in parentheses. Remember: 
it doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't even have to be right. 
This is the rough draft, the first draft. You will go back over 
it and catch everything— but later, not now. On this first draft, 
anything goes— no one will see it but you. Therefore there is 
nothing to worry about, nothing to be self-conscious about. 
Grammar, spelling, punctuation need not get in your way and 
hold you back. If you come to a place for a footnote, don't 
worry about numbering it; just draw a line across ( or part way 
across) the page right under the line where the reference 
occurs, write the footnote in, draw another line under it, and 
keep writing: 

*&ecc£& Zt/xJ&zvnAsa^fc&n ^ / a££. 5$&ctiv6 ft/M^ux* titwtmf 
{^Mcri^iA '■Jfo7fymciM'ft2&u, $x??n/>*njf, 1953), fy>. W3-H-5. 

When you have finished with one topic or subtopic from 
your outline, pick another and start a fresh page. 

Headings and Subheadings in the Rough Draft. When your 
rough draft has taken shape you will for the first time be able 
to decide how well your outline stacks up against the needs of 
the reporting job. Each of the topics of your outline was poten- 
tially a heading for your report, and each of your subtopics a 
subheading. Your actual writing, however, may well show that 
some of the topics are really subtopics, that some of the sub- 
topics deserve to be separate main topics, that some of the 
subtopics just did not develop and should be scratched, or that 
there are subtopics or even topics showing up that you hadn't 
thought of at all when you made your outline. There may be 
a need to shift the order of topics, or even the whole approach 
of the report. From the way your rough draft shapes up you 
can make a new outline, this one a tentative table of contents, 

Writing and Revising 45 

with headings and subheadings phrased to be consistent with 
each other, as you will want them to be in the final draft. 
Then you can go through your rough draft rephrasing head- 
ings and subheadings, if necessary, to make them fit the tenta- 
tive table of contents. Underline main headings three times to 
show that they are to be put in full capitals in the final draft, 
and underline subheadings once to show that they will be 
underlined in final draft.* 

Working with the Rough Draft. With the skeleton or frame- 
work of your report now clearly defined by the headings and 
subheadings, you can turn back to the order and organization 
within the topics, within the subtopics, and finally within the 
paragraphs and sentences. What you want is clarity, concise- 
ness—you don't want to be a report-writing Fancy Dan. Build- 
ing suspense or emotional tension is outside your province as a 
writer of reports; the questions you will ask of each section of 
your rough draft are : 

Is it clear? 

Can I make it clearer? 

Are these ideas in the right order? Can I find a better order? 
Would an example or a case study help? 
Would a table or a graph help? 
Is it concise? 

Have I wasted words? 

Suppose I cut this, or this, or this— what would happen? 
Is it coherent? 

Does it stick together? (Did you ever try making popcorn 

balls and have them fail to stick together? Sometimes 

pieces of paragraphs are just as uncooperative as pieces of 

popcorn. ) 
Does it seem to flow along smoothly from one idea to another? 

( Try reading it aloud. ) 

When you find something to change, draw a line through 
your first draft version and change it. If the change is major, 
rewrite the section, using margins, spaces between the lines, or 
stapled-on slips of paper. I use 8/2 X 11 gummed sheets of 
plain white paper for major changes; I cut off the right size 

* Actually there are several alternative ways to set up headings and sub- 
headings; we will not rule out use of other methods. 

46 Report Writing 

piece with my paper-cutter and stick it right on top of the 
obsolete wording. 

Second Draft. Some report writers type their final copy 
from their corrected rough pencil draft; some compose their 
rough draft on the typewriter, correct it in pencil, and retype 

The Baldwin Locomotive tforks was founded in 1 831, by Mat hi as W. Baldwin. 

The i n i/lll ifirl i uij names, and at the turn of the 20th century was 

a general partnership onder tne name of Burhham, Williams, and Company. 

On June 8, 1909, the Baldwin .Locomotive Works was incorporated at 

Harrisourg, Pennsylvania, rfith the provision that the stockholders, 

who were the partners at the time of incprp oration, would be the 

Board of Directors and officersfb The firm had §20,000,000 of §100 

par capital stoat outstanding of which §10,300, 000 4as preferred 

stock entitled to one vote for each of two shares. The remaining 

stock was^ common stoc* with full voting power. The preferred Jfffi — 

stock tut, entitled to 6% per annum cumulative dividends and fern* 

preferred both as to dividends and liquidation of principal assets. 

The main piitnt was located in Philadelphia with a large branch at 

Eddystone, Pennsylvania Baldwin also ewned the Standard Steel Works, 

Burnnam, Pennsylvania. 

1910/ On May 1, 1910, Baldwin issued §10,000,000 first mortgage 5% 

30 years sinking fund gold Donds with the provision for a 2% sinking 

fund to begin in 1915 for which the bonds 3§3t be purchased at the 

stated price of 107? and interest This issue was secured by all 

real estate, buildings, /machinery amounting to §14,500,000 and 

*i*capital stock of the Standard Steel Works _ ^Qj3, 50o7oOO~T^ Bonds to 
the amount of §5,000,000 S» reserved for additions and improvements 
U *'a Si ' ; r*rr than 75JS of the cost of such* Aft was noted that earnings 

applicable to interest ha.w4 in the last 10 years been approximately 
§2,800,000 per year. The net assets after application of geegowfc- 
proceeds and deducting bills and accounts payable *!«»&- greater than 
§30,000,000. J The entire bond issued v/as soid at 99?. / 

Figure 10. Page of a Second Draft from a Report by Nancy Kiehborth, 
a Miami University Junior. 

Writing and Revising 47 

it to get their final draft. But many experienced report writers 
use a method I strongly recommend to all beginners: they type 
a second draft from the corrected rough pencil draft, check 
it carefully, and type their final copy from the second draft. 

The best place to catch spelling errors, nonstandard English 
usage, and editorially unsatisfactory punctuation is in the sec- 
ond draft; if no second draft is used, of course all these faults 
must be corrected on the rough draft. The second draft gives 
the writer a chance to read his report rapidly in type, just as 
his reader will read it, and to give its content and organization 
a further evaluation. Often the report reads better in type than 
it did in longhand; if it reads worse there is still time to fix it. 

At every reading the writer will find some improvement to 
make in his phrasing: some balky construction will clear up or 
some cliche will suddenly seem unnecessary. The best of the 
professionals will keep tinkering with their wording; as news- 
paper desk men sometimes say, "There is no good writing; 
there is only good rewriting." 

Footnotes are inserted where they belong in the second 
draft, and are numbered consecutively. When it is certain that 
there will be no further major change, pages are numbered 
tentatively; and page references to other parts of the report or 
to the appendix are tentatively filled in. 

Typing the Final Draft. 



This label is the key to good final drafts. All the work should 
have gone into the rough draft and the second draft; nothing 
is left but a typing job to complete the final copy. Neatness, 
good fresh ribbon, good bond paper, and above all carefulness 
are essential. 

Illustrations, diagrams, and graphs should be drawn in ink, 
although colored pencil may be used for coloring bars or seg- 
ments in graphs. 

48 Report Writing 

Proofreading. (Also see pp. 225-30.) Amateur and pro- 
fessional writers alike must read proof— and they are never 
happy about it, either. Reading proof is hard; it means con- 
centrating word after word, sentence after sentence, on each 
detail of printer's proof or a final draft of a report. 

Is this the way I had it? 

Is this the way I mean it? 

Does this make sense? 

Did I copy this figure right? (Better check my notes.) 

Is this 100% right? 

One thing that makes reading proof hard is the way we get 
caught up in the meaning as we read along. We will be reading 
proof carefully, 

The . . best . . style . . for . . reports . . uses . . language . . as . . 
a . . perfectly . . transparent . . medium. . . Clear, . . clean . . glass, . . 
though not as beautiful as stained glass, . . lets . . in . . more . . 
light; . . in the same way a plain, . . clear . . style . . does . . not . . 
call attention to itself . . but . . does . . pass along the facts with 
maximum efficiency.* 

and in spite of all we can do we see phrases and groups of 
logically connected words as units of meaning. "In the same 
way," "call attention to itself," and "pass along the facts" nor- 
mally group themselves in our minds for efficient reading, and 
generally that is a valuable aid to us— but when we are reading 
proof it is our greatest handicap. 

A related difficulty in the form of a mental quirk is the fact 
that a proofreader of his own writing is likely to pass up typo- 
graphical errors because he tends to read not what is there but 
what he intended to put there. The thing is correct and clear 
in his mind, and so, going merrily along reading manuscript 
that is generally satisfactory, he fails to catch little slips like 
there for their, or even larger deviations and failures to make a 
point crystal clear. Often a very careful proofreading will show 
you that the point you thought you had made was only partly 
expressed— must be rephrased if the reader is to get it. You 

* Cecil B. Williams and John Ball, Effective Business Writing (New York: 
The Ronald Press Co., 1953), p. 445. 

Writing and Revising 49 

must communicate continuously with your reader; you can't 
afford either to lose his respect through errors or to baffle him 
through lack of clarity. 

Effective proofreading, then, must find some way to break 
the normal reading patterns we use. Reading each page back- 
ward, one word at a time beginning with the last, is one good 
way to break the pattern— though with this system there is no 
way to recognize words that are spelled right from the dic- 
tionary's point of view but that are not the right words for the 
context: to instead of too, or principal instead of principle. My 
suggestion is that you develop the habit of bringing each word 
into focus separately, as though a small magnifier were being 
passed slowly across the page: 

After the basic f th^OTV 1°^ rQ dioactive disintegration 

One of my students actually brought a magnifier with him to his 
final examination to proofread his paper; it seemed to work, for 
he found all but one small error. (However, results are not 
guaranteed. ) 

Along with the one-word-at-a-time proofreading, you should 
of course read the report once or twice for meaning. If this 
seems like a lot of bother, let's agree that it is and take time for 
yet one more check of the report. Are its pages in the right 
order? Are any paragraphs left out? Sure those figures aren't 
ten or a hundred or a million off? From the digging-for-infor- 
mation stage through the rough draft to this stage, the report 
has been work— it's worth some trouble to make this final draft 

Exercises and Problems 

1. On the next page is a paragraph of very rough first draft; 
work it over. Type up a second draft and hand it in to your in- 

50 Report Writing 

(H)3.U U5l^MamJ) PJIAV^UA \jLsl*>Aj!m4\ 0Lna<J V P&UXj&ma \&*m&6 

"4Um ^o y*> isJ^^Xx ***** ao-iaamJ UjJLJC .a/-SP k 

^ t&o ju>j\ ; uJJu JtLinJi frj\w>A - ^^^j\aaa u>JbvoXujwOj « o\ 

2. Prepare a final draft from your second draft; proofread it care- 
fully and hand it in. 

3. Here is a paragraph of second draft that needs some work. 
Revise it. 

During President Thompson's administration (1852- 1874) 
the road almost reached its present geographical limits. By 
means of finamcial loans, stock and bond purchase and guaran- 
teed bonds, the Pennsylvania acquired an interest in most of 
the impostant roads in Ohio and Indiana. The main reason for 
such financial assistance was to help itself through the 
interchange of freight and passengers. A few of those roads 
so assisted included the Ohio and Pennsylvania, Ohio and 
Indiana, Ft. Wayne and Chicag, Marietta and Cincinnati, 
Steubenville and Indiana, and the Philadelphia and Erie. At 
the same time they were also building up strong branch-line 
network in these states. The same expansion took place to 
the east and southeast of Pittsburgh. At the end of 1862 the 
investment in other roads amounted to only $2,777,000 but by 
1673 it was in excess of $70,000,000 and today it is 

4. This paragraph of copy was submitted as final copy even 
though it contains several typographical errors. Copy the para- 
graph and mark the errors with the appropriate proofreaders' 
marks (see p. 228). 

Writing and Revising 51 

We will first consider river transportation. Each 
barge has a capacity of 900 tons. The transportation rate 
from Pomeroy to Cincinati is 650 per net ton. The riverfront 
facilities at Cincinnati are located on the north bank of the 
Ohio River, near the Louisville and Nashv lie bridge. The 
Riverfront Transpostation Company owns the Fulton Coal 
Tipple, also accessible to the Motor Carriers. The eleva- 
tion costs includes the handling of the coal from the barges 
to the wharf at the rate of 350 per netton. The Riverfront 
Company has facilities to stockpile 30.000 tons for storage. 
The storage rate is 250 per net ton for a period of six 
months. There is an additional charge of 250 pernet ton for 
elevating the coal at the time it removed from riverside 
storage. The two ways of transp orting the coal from the 
wharf at the riverfront to our plant are via Motor Truck or 

5. Explain the use of stet., % 9r, 1. c., c. 

6. Write a rough draft paragraph summarizing a talk or lecture. 

7. Write the second draft of your paragraph. 

8. Prepare an accurate final copy, and submit all three drafts 
to your instructor, along with your notes on the talk. 

Chapter 5 

A word can carry a lot of freight. Take "Hi." 
Jack had been working for years to be mayor. This had 
been his big chance. Nominated by the dominant party in 
town politics, supported by all the councilmen but one: how 
could he lose? His opponent had been Pete— much younger, 
still working on his law degree, not even supported fully by his 
own minority party. Pete had run a reckless campaign, re- 
cruiting school kids to ring doorbells, going in to talk where 
he hadn't been invited; Jack had called it "undignified." The 
morning after the election Jack met Pete at the drugstore. "Hi, 
Mayor," Jack said. 

Another fellow named Jack in the same town was a professor 
at the college. Don, one of his students, had done the work of 
ten men to promote a concert at the college by the George Lewis 
Jazz Band of New Orleans, last of the great authentic bands. 
The band had come, excited by their first trip North since they'd 
gone to New York with Bunk Johnson in 1945. The band had 
never played so well: "Careless Love," "Corrine Corrina," "Ice 
Cream," "Burgundy Street Blues," "The Saints." An overflow 
crowd of students had given them a standing ovation. After 
the concert, at the party at Jack's home, George Lewis had told 
Jack and Don that this had been the happiest day of his life, 
that it had made him feel that his music was worth all the 
trouble it had been to build the band and keep it going. Jack 
and Don were short on sleep the next morning when they met 
at the door of their 8 o'clock. "Hi, Don," Jack said. 

"Hi" meant different things to the two men named Jack— and 
it sounded different when they said it. The greeting was more 
than just the word— it was the way the voice made the word: 
slow, fast; high, low; loud, soft; harsh, gentle. It was the tim- 


Language 53 

ing— the hesitation or eagerness. It was the facial expression, 
the gesture. 

What did "Hi" mean? Take "Hi, Mayor"— did that mean 
"How are you, Mayor?" No, I imagine it meant something 
like this: "I know you know how much I wanted to be mayor, 
and I imagine you wonder how I'm going to take it that you've 
won. Well, a man has got to live in the present, not in the past, 
and I'm going to take it without complaint if you'll let me. 
Without committing myself any more than I can help, I can 
imply that if you want to be friendly, I'm willing— I'll listen to 
the way your voice sounds and figure out from that whether our 
relationship in the future will be closer or farther apart." 

Language Is Words Plus. The process of using language to 
communicate is more complex than a few terms and rules in a 
book ( or more simple, if you happen to think that life is simpler 
than a stack of textbooks ) . Language is part of our life. What 
we put into communication is an awareness and understanding 
of human relationships, of human behavior, and of symptoms of 
human attitudes that it has taken our lifetime to develop. We 
have acquired a kind of radar (sometimes called perceptive- 
ness) that warns us when our communication is getting off the 
track or approaching danger zones. We put our bodies into 
communication— our hands, our faces, and most expressive of 
all, our voices. During our lifetime we have learned to play 
the musical instrument which is the voice so that it can make 
Yes out of No and No out of Yes. Intonation, pitch, intensity, 
voice rate: these are technical terms, but without knowing what 
one of them means a 10-year-old is master of them all. 

Another thing we put into communication is words. 

Words Are Symbols. A word is a symbol that stands for 
something else. We would use the something else instead of 
its symbol except that as Swift implied in the third book of 
Gulliver s Travels it is often impractical to carry around with 
us all the somethings we might want to use in conversation. 
If we are not near enough to Mt. Everest to point, we have to 
refer to it by using symbols: 

The symbol M plus the symbol t plus the symbol . plus the symbols 
E, v, e, r, e, s, and t make two words— symbols standing for the big 
hunk of windswept rock over in Asia. 

54 Report Writing 

As the example shows, there can be symbols within symbols, 
symbols standing for symbols. Here are some more symbols; 
see if you can identify them: 

1. 71 6. fl 

2. □ 7. y; 

3. ^0^*Sl 8. £ 

4. 8 9. [Jj 

5. 10. 

The answers are at the bottom of the page.* 

Men have been using symbols for so long and have become 
so accustomed to having them convey meaning that they take 
them for granted; they often fail to apply to them the scientific 
objectivity of approach they use in their work. Two of the 
commonest errors of approach to symbols are a confusion of 
the symbol with the thing symbolized and a tendency to talk 
and define in symbols that are too abstract ( or remote from the 
thing symbolized) to pin down meaning exactly.** 

The Word Is Not the Thing. In primitive magic a name was 
often considered to carry with it some of the characteristics it 
described; to make a child swift of foot a parent might call him 

* 1. Pi, a Greek letter and common mathematical term. 

2. Map symbol for county seat. 

3. Borzoi, the colophon of Alfred A. Knopf, New York publisher. 

4. Eth, an Anglo-Saxon letter of the alphabet, pronounced th. 

5. Another map symbol: road proposed or under construction. Failure 
to properly identify this one stranded me on top of a Virginia mountain 

6. Proofreaders' symbol: start a new paragraph here. 

7. Swastika, symbol of Hitler's Germany. 

8. British monetary symbol: pound sterling. 

9. Chinese word meaning mountains. 

10. Stands for zero, or for the fifteenth letter of the alphabet. 

** Other errors in man's approach to symbols are discussed in any thorough 
work on semantics, such as S. I. Hayakawa's Language in Thought and Action 
(New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., Inc., 1949). 

Language 55 

Fleet-as-a-Deer. Even today we personify names and other 
symbols. We love or hate flags and emblems depending on our 
previous experience with them or what we have been told about 
them; we react to the label "red" as if the label itself were 
something to become emotionally disturbed about. The word 
or symbol cannot be the thing, any more than money can be the 
goods it buys; treating the symbol as if it were the thing leads 
to fuzzy thinking and fuzzier writing. The general semanti- 
cists say it leads to un-sanity. An example: at the beginning 
of World War I the inhabitants of a small midwestern town 
turned in fury on a word, taking out on it, defenseless as it was, 
their indignation at a thing out of their reach. They changed 
the name of their village from Germantown to Liberty, and 
burned all evidence that the awful word had ever been con- 
nected with them. 

Abstraction. All symbols are two stages removed from life 
itself. To abstract means to remove, to move away from the 
specific or concrete. We can best show the process of ab- 
straction through a chart (Fig. 11). 

There is nothing wrong with the symbols at the top levels 
of abstraction— they are perfectly good symbols. Our error in 
using them comes from the fact that it is easy to get into the 
habit of defining or explaining in terms that are farther from the 
process and experience levels than the symbol we are defining. 
If someone asks "What is a mosquito?" we automatically say 
"An insect." We should, if we want to define sharply, say "Go 
out on the porch on a summer night and sit near an electric 
bulb. That buzzing sound that seems to power-dive at your 
ear is made by a mosquito. You'd better get it before it gets 

The semanticists call a definition that points toward the 
process and experience levels an operational definition. The 
value of the operational definition is shown when dissenting 
groups try to agree on the application of higher-level abstractions 
like "right." What does "right" mean in "Right to strike"? Try 
defining it the traditional way ( term, genus, differentiae ) first, 
then the operational way. If disputing parties can get down to 
examples and cases they can always find specific areas of agree- 
ment—and from small agreements large agreements grow. 


Showing Levels Growing More and More Abstoact from Bottom to Top 

The vertical bar* as it changes from black to lighter and lighter gray, reflects the 
LEAVING OtfpT'qf characteristics in the process of abstraction. 

Bruce Buckley I 


Living pi 


Human being 


Graduate This level and all those above it are symbolic levels 

student J which grow more and more abstract, LEAVE OUT 

more and more of the characteristics of Bruce Buckley^ 
they spread out. more and pin down less. Korzybski 
called these second-order symbolic levels INFEREN- 

Korzybski called this first-order symbolic level the 
DESCRIPTIVE LEVEL; it refers as directly as sym- 
bols can refer to the things or events pointed to be- 
neath the symbolic barrier at the experience or process 
levels. Yet even at this level symbols LEAVE OUT 
all individual differences and changes in process- 
changes in Bruce Buckley, say, from 12:01 to 12:02, 
from July to November, from 1955 to 1965. 

QadcR42bztheg$? f .,q-z; 1 /2$RBEaliwWbplq.zo-3& . . . This is the theoreti- 

cal SYMBOLIC .vhich keeps us from dealing directly with things and 

events . . . ).A jmnRgatf23BTYeaTbqp9U62ma&ma62-&tfa/2WdqbaHTP 


This level LEAVES OUT all that our senses cannot 
perceive, unaided or with the help of such equipment 
as lenses or electronic devices. Put another way, it 
ABSTRACTS from the process level only those char- 
acteristics which our senses can perceive. Bruce Buck- 
ley can be seen, heard, recognized through the senses; 
the concept at this level includes the man as we know 
him— how he looks, sounds, Walks, etc. 


The level at which all things function and all events 
occur: photosynthesis, cell division and growth, erosion 
and decay, seeing and thinking. Most of the qualities 
of things and beings at the process level are unknown 
or imperfectly known. A man is so complex and 
multidimensional on the process level that the concept 
staggers our symbol-bound imaginations. The con- 
cept includes everything about the man— chemical, 
physical, psychological— at one moment of time, every- 
thing known and everything unknown. As the symbol 
at the extreme left implies, nothing is LEFT OUT, 
even at the atomic level. 

Figure 11. Chart Showing Process of Abstraction. 

* A clear adaptation of Alfred Korzybski's Structural Differential on which 
this chart is based in part, is found in Irving Lee, Language Habits in Human 
Affairs (New York: Harper & Bros., 1941), pp. 264 ff. 


Language 57 

The Way We Get Meaning. The writer strings symbols 
along in a row; he puts his meaning into them. His language 
is the language of speech, less the dynamics of speech and ( too 
generally) the idiom of speech. Since the writer cannot rely 
on the raised eyebrow or the raised voice, he must be more 
explicit than the speaker; his language must be somewhat more 
rigid, less fluid. He can indicate some difference in pauses and 
emphasis by punctuation, spacing, typography. When he gets 
done, though, the writer has crowded his meaning into a few 
symbols, for better or worse: a few one-dimensional symbols 
lined up in a row. 

The reader starts at the beginning of the row; his objective 
is to get the meaning out of the symbols, to see what the writer 
has to say. 

How We Get Meaning as We Read 

'A." Well, so far we know that the next word is likely to be the name 
of something. 








Now we have a good notion of what the whole sentence is about. 
Unless the word is used figuratively (and we'll stay on the alert 
for such a usage) we are going to learn about storms or a par- 
ticular storm. Next word— very likely an action word, a verb. 

We were right— a verb. And it is storms in general and not some 
particular storm that we will read about. I'd say we are going to 
find out what makes a storm (part of which we probably know 
already from the television weather men) or possibly something 
about how often storms occur in some particular place or places. 

Yes, I'll bet 98 to 2 it's going to be about what makes a storm. We 
are going to read about cold fronts and warm fronts hitting each 
other and kicking up a ruckus. Next word: "a." 

What did I tell you? From here on we can read groups of words. 
It's easy. 

Figure 12. Chart Showing Process of Gaining Meaning from Writing. 

This process of developing meaning is indebted to information theory (see 
pp. 158 ff. ) and to structural linguistics. For a good linguistics bibliography see 
John B. Carroll, The Study of Language (Cambridge: Harvard University 
Press, 1953). 

58 Report Writing 

Flip a coin: it will be "mass of cold air" or "mass of warm air" next. 



a Now we know the next seven words: ". . . air and a mass of cold air. 

r After that it will say "come together" or "meet." 









This is a little like free-wheeling or coasting. 

e "Meet" was right. We aren't going to learn anything more— this 
e sentence can quit anytime. 

Figure 12— Continued. 

Language 59 




e Next word: "to. 






p "Each other"— and that will finish the sentence; it could have stopped 

1 long ago. 



h We know, we know. 



Good— a period. Now we can see if the next sentence tells us some- 
thing we don't know already. 

Figure 12— Concluded. 

The reader brings to the job of seeking meaning a wide range 
of experience with symbols and with the life they relate to; he 
brings also a willingness, even an eagerness, to learn from each 
symbol, even from each punctuation mark, how to interpret the 
meaning of the whole. 

To show how the process works, I have set a row of symbols 
vertically down the page in Fig. 12, with a running commentary 
on the rapidly developing body of meaning gathered by the 

60 Report Writing 

Now, in the sentences which follow, try observing the way 
you get meaning; read the words in capital letters, stop, and 
see if you can fill in the rest of each sentence by guessing. 


right down to the end. 


of the meaning in the first few words. 


waste time with a sentence after he has found its meaning; he 
scans it quickly and goes to the next one. 

The Futility of Classifying. What does all this about storms 
and warm air masses and meaning in Fig. 12 prove? 

We build meaning as we read. 

By the time we finish a sentence we have its meaning— or we 
never will have. Generally we don t even need the last words 
of a sentence to get the sentence's meaning. 

In other words, analysis, or tearing apart a completed sentence 
and naming the pieces, is not the way we get meaning, and 
is unrelated to the process of getting meaning. 

Neither does tearing apart a completed sentence and naming 
the pieces supply the kind of background it takes to write good 
sentences. Write for me, now, a proper noun followed by a 
transitive verb, past tense, followed by an infinitive phrase, the 
object of the verb, made up of the subject of the infinitive, the 
infinitive of an irregular, intransitive verb, and a first person 
pronoun in the same case as the subject of the infinitive. Want 
a clue? The situation is one of mistaken identity, and the sub- 
ject is Jack. Go ahead— write it.* It's easy— unless you have 
lived a normal life so far and learned to use your language more 
or less in spite of the formal rules of grammar. 

What is basic about written language is the way symbols 
carry meaning— the way meaning goes into a sentence, the way 
it comes out, the ways it may get lost in between, and the ways 
to keep it from getting lost. We learn these things not by 
learning dead rules but by working with the living language. 

* One answer— not the only one— is "J ac ^ thought him to be me." 

Language 61 

Grammar is abstract; it is full of symbols for symbols, names 
for names. Once these abstractions get put into a book they re- 
main static, an unchanging record of the way language was once. 
Language itself is constantly changing, however, and the only 
way to keep up with that change is to learn from the living 
language. Change is good, it is healthy, it is inevitable; no one 
book or thousand books can build a dike against it. The split 
infinitive, the sentence ending in a preposition, and the con- 
traction were once out of the question in most college English 
classes; now they're becoming OK. The distinction between 
shall and will and the whole use of the subjunctive mood are on 
their way out of the language. 

Don't let what we have just said shake your confidenLe; 
everyone who can read this book has learned a lot about his 
language, and should have confidence in his ability to use it. 
What we are saying is that grammar and our language are not 
the same thing; you can use the language skilfully and not 
know one rule of grammar, or you may know the grammar book 
by heart and be unable to explain why you were late to class. 
If you have learned grammar till it is coming out your ears, 
your study has helped build your concept of good usage, and 
you won't have to unlearn your rules unless the changing lan- 
guage makes them obsolete. 

Whether you know grammar or not, most of what you know 
about language is not grammar. You learned to talk English 
without knowing a single rule— you learned to talk by imitating 
the talk of others, unself -consciously and freely. And you have 
learned about writing by observing and imitating effective 
writing— or you should have. You have developed the radar of 
language perceptiveness we mentioned earlier. You have de- 
veloped your own style, your own taste and judgment in lan- 
guage, and your own stock of symbols. You can use these re- 
sources without referring to the rules of grammar— just as a 
man can walk without telling his gastrocnemius to get busy and 
operate his tendo calcaneus. 

The Ways We Lose Meaning. The process of using lan- 
guage is made easier and surer if the writer sees precisely what 
it is that he is doing. Let's take an idea in the mind of the 


Report Writing 

writer and see what happens to it as we put it in the symbols 
we call words. 





, 1 , 

i r\ r- a 

WW • Jl 

1 U I. 1 1 


j ; ; \. •• 



\/ IDEA IN \/ 


First, we may be making too big an assumption when we say 
that the idea is clear in the mind of the writer— but let's make 
that assumption anyway. When the idea is put into symbolic 
language ( English words in this case ) it suffers a loss, or what 
we might call a leakage if we visualize our idea as traveling in 
a fluid state— a loss or leakage of meaning (the idea becomes 
through this loss less like its original, and may end up as no 
idea, or a part of an idea, or even some other idea altogether ) . 
The idea loses meaning between the writers mind and the 
symbols on the paper 

1. Through the inadequacy of the language, of any symbols, 
to carry the whole meaning of any idea (symbols cannot 
reach the process level or the experience level ) . 

2. Through the carelessness of the writer. 

3. Through the lack of language skill of the writer. 

Very little can be done about the first; the second and third are 
more or less in the writer's own control. The only thing it takes 
to conquer carelessness is determination. The writer's language 
skill can be built up through practice, imitation of good writing, 
breaking down of self-consciousness, more practice, more imi- 
tation of good writing, more practice. 

Most college composition courses stop worrying about the 
ideas after they have been put on paper; as a result most of us 
fail to remember that the most important factor in the com- 
munications process has not yet been mentioned. After the 
idea has been translated into the symbols on the paper it has to 
be translated back into idea again, and the man who will do 
that vital job is the reader. The man at whom any writing job 
is aimed is the reader; it is only what reaches his mind that 



counts. Between the page of symbols and the mind of the 
reader leakage can occur 

1. Through the reader's lack of language skill. 

2. Through the reader's carelessness. 

3. Through the reader's overt or subconscious resistance (to 
something new to him, something strange, something which 
seems to threaten his way of doing things, something which 
will cost him money, something which will require thought 
and attention to figure out, etc. ) 

Though all these seem to involve only the reader, not the writer, 
the writer can nevertheless compensate for all of them to some 

The Counterattack: Ways to Combat Loss of Meaning. The 

writer can write so accurately, so concisely, and so clearly that 
the reader's carelessness is unlikely to cause loss of meaning. 
Give each of these report sections about 15 seconds of your 
divided attention ( you'll be looking at your watch too ) and see 
which one gets most of its meaning through to you: 

X6 coded merchandise 

On April 18 Mr. Solway wrote 
that all our X6 stock had to be 
moved out of the warehouse by 
June 1. 

On April 18 we had 726 cases 
coded X6; on May 1 we had 61; 
and on May 9 we shipped out 
the last X6 case. 

The next item to report is the move- 
ment of coded merchandise. About 
the middle of last month a communi- 
cation was received from the mer- 
chandise manager regarding procedures 
for handling obsolescing merchandise. 
The communication stressed the neces- 
sity for culling from the stock all 
merchandise coded X6 within a few 
weeks. The directive was adminis- 
tered except for about one-twelfth of 
the obsolescing stock that same month, 
and by the ninth of this month the 
final fulfillment of the directive's pur- 
pose was achieved. 

The writer can adapt his language to his reader to overcome 
the handicap of the reader's possible lack of language skill. 

In the examples which follow, not only the language but the 
whole approach has been adapted to the differing audience of 
the reports. It is safe to assume that most stockholders of a 
manufacturing company are familiar with the specialized lan- 
guage of finance and that most employees in the plant are not 
(though some firms, particularly those whose employees hold 

64 Report Writing 

considerable stock, eliminate the language of finance from stock- 
holder reports and send the one report to both stockholders and 
employees ) . 

Excerpt from Champion Paper 
& Fibre Co. 1953 Annual Report 
to Employees: 

Now a brief look at the future. 
The next fiscal year will be an- 
other in which we spend heavily 
for the tools of production. 

We have laid out an even 
heavier budget for plant expan- 
sion, but our purchase of forest 
lands will be reduced somewhat. 
In addition, we're due to make 
substantial repayments of money 
we borrowed to buy tools. We 
expect that all of this money 
will come out of our earnings 
and depreciation, as dollars 
"plowed back" into the business. 

Thus, we are continually im- 
proving our ability to make 
more and better paper at a 
lower cost per ton. The indus- 
try is growing steadily more 
competitive and our individual 
skills, our teamwork, and the 
quality of our machines will be 
put to the test. I am confident 
that we will continue to make 
progress worthy of the history 
of our company. 

The writer can sometimes motivate the reader to partially 
overcome carelessness or resistance; he can make it seem worth 
the reader's time and trouble to get meaning by making clear 
the report's relationship to the reader's own interests. 

Another excerpt from the Champion Paper & Fibre Co. 1953 
Annual Report to Employees shows this principle in action: 

At the end of the year, gross earnings of the average hourly 
worker were about 6% above the corresponding period a year ago. 
This was due to increases in the cooperative earnings bonus, the 
cost-of-living bonus, and the average number of hours worked 
each week. Furthermore, the 25% increase in our Retirement 
Income Plan, financed entirely by the company, required an initial 
payment of $700,000. 

Excerpt from Champion Paper & Fibre 
Co. 1953 Annual Report to Stock- 
holders : 

As to the outlook for the coming year, 
demand for most of our products is 
currently strong, and— barring a major 
change in general business conditions- 
it appears likely that our sales volume 
will be maintained at a satisfactory 
level. The increased costs we experi- 
enced last year will undoubtedly con- 
tinue to be a factor affecting our 
earning power. Also, at present writ- 
ing there is no assurance as to how 
much, if any, relief we may get from 
the heavy and inequitable burden of 
the so-called "excess profits" tax. 

We believe, however, that our invest- 
ments in natural resources and pro- 
ductive facilities, and our progress in 
developing new and improved prod- 
ucts, have substantially strengthened 
our competitive position; and that we 
can rely on the continuing enthusiasm 
and cooperation of the people who 
make up the Champion "team." We 
feel, therefore, that there is reason for 
confidence in the ability of our enter- 
prise to meet successfully the chal- 
lenges that may lie ahead. 

Language 65 

A notable accomplishment in the field of industrial relations is 
the fact that our safety record was the best in the company's his- 
tory. During the year our lost-time injuries numbered L88 per 
million man hours of work, as compared with 14.30 for the pulp 
and paper industry. This is a splendid showing, and much credit 
is due our supervisors as well as all other Champion men and 

The writer can establish relationships for the reader. Under- 
standing is a process of establishing relationships; if I encounter 
a new concept, I try to find its internal relationship ( the way it 
hangs together) and to find something I already understand 
that it can be related to. If I can't establish such relationships 
for the new concept I just won't understand it at all. What do 
I mean, relationships? Well, a brother and sister are related, 
and so are two events that happened the same time or place, 
two ideas based on the same premises, two answers to the same 
question, two books by the same author, two ways of doing 
the same job. Causes are related to effects: the muddy track 
is related to the thunderstorm. Heat is related to friction. 
Physical laws are related to each other, and to some laws that 
haven't been codified yet. What we know is always related to 
something we don't know, and with luck what we don't know 
is related to something we already have in our experience. 

If the reader has to figure out the relationship of the ideas 
in a sentence he may take too long or even miss them altogether; 
if the writer can, he should make the relationships clear as he 
constructs the sentence. In order to help the reader relate a 
concept to something in his experience, the writer may use 
examples or suggest applications to the reader's experience. 
A good concrete example actually becomes a part of the read- 
er's experience when he reads it and then offers a kind of anchor 
to tie relationships to. 

In order to show the reader the relationship existing among 
the ideas within a sentence or paragraph, the writer can arrange 
his row of symbols so that the relationship among the symbols 
is sharply defined; from the relationship among the symbols the 
reader can see the relationship among the ideas. Manipulating 
the symbols to help the reader get meaning from them brings 
in some of the basic principles of rhetoric: * 

* See the textbooks by Perrin and by Foerster, et al. } cited on p. 38 rt, 

ob Report Writing 

= Coordination means giving two ideas of the same importance 
the same sentence structure. What kinds of structure are avail- 
able to give the ideas? In order of decreasing importance, 

independent clause 

dependent (subordinate) clause 


single word modifiers. 

If the reader sees two independent clauses connected by a 
coordinating conjunction ("and," "or," "nor," "for," "but") he 
knows that according to the writer's judgment both the ideas 
expressed are important and the two are of roughly the same 
importance. "Karl accepted the change of status, but Paul 
decided to resign" shows how two men reacted to the same 
dilemma. If the reader sees two modifiers given the same sen- 
tence structure, "Our employment curve for next year will show 
a slow and steady uptrend," he will recognize that both are 
qualities of the same uptrend, and that the writer weights them 
about equal in their influence on that uptrend. The equals 
sign ( = ) is the sign of coordination. 

# Parallelism also shows equality of relationship by giving ideas 
not only equal but identical sentence structure. The under- 
lined parts of the sentence you are now reading are an example 
of coordination and at the same time of parallelism. My sign 
for parallelism adds two parallel vertical lines to the sign for 
coordination: (#). 

> Subordination means giving inferior sentence structure to part of 
an idea to show its lesser importance, or giving a cause-and- 
effect relationship to ideas. "Our big picnic will be held on 
the Fourth of July, which falls on a Tuesday this year" shows 
the reader the lesser importance of the "which" clause. "We 
lost $97,000 in orders as a result of the strike' shows the reader 
a cause-and-effect relationship. Subordination can be indicated 
by the mathematical symbol "is more than" ( > ) . 

1 Emphasis shows the reader what the writer considers most im- 
portant. Mechanical emphasis uses underlining, exclamation 
points, full capitals, color, or some other typographical atten- 
tion-getting device. Logical emphasis uses sentence structure 

Language 67 

to point to the important idea; suspense (better not try it in a 
report); facts listed 1, 2, 3, building to a strong conclusion; 
contrast (use of very short or otherwise unusual sentences or 
paragraphs); and many other means. The exclamation point 
is the sign of emphasis ( ! ) . 

^^Transition means showing the relationship between the ideas 
from one sentence or paragraph to the next so that the thought 
will flow smoothly and the reader will not fall into any such 
traps as this: "He was always broke, and he had no ambition. 
His classmates voted him 'most likely to succeed.' " "Huh?" 
you say, as the contradiction hits you, and you go back and 
read it again to make sure. Mechanical transition uses special 
transitional words and phrases ( such as therefore, thus, on the 
other hand, consequently, then, however ) to serve as road signs 
and warnings to the reader. However means 

curve in \^"^S> while \ 70 / full speed; 

thought Nv/ therefore \ MPH / clear road 

ahead means ! ahead. 

Logical transition repeats a key word, phrase, or idea to show 
how the stream of thought flows. The repeated key phrase in 
this sentence is repeated key phrase, a paraphrase of the defi- 
nition of logical transition; the paraphrase shows the reader 
what part of the first sentence is going to be taken up further 
in the second. My sign for transition is the symbol for drawing 
together or bridging the gap ((^). 

The Writer's Language Responsibility. Does it begin to 
seem that the writer has a very considerable language responsi- 
bility to his reader— a responsibility very similar to that of a 
quarterback on a pass play? The quarterback has to throw 
the ball where the receiver is, or the pass is not good. The 
quarterback can't catch the ball for the end, of course, or make 
him catch it— but he can put it in the end's hands. After that 
it is up to the end. 

How does the quarterback put the ball in the end's hands? 
Skill, knowhow, practice: it's not an accident. How does the 
writer prepare to do his full share of the communication job— 

68 Report Writing 

to put the idea clear across through the symbols into the read- 
er s mind, to make his language carry its weight? Again, skill, 
practice, knowhow. 

For anyone not satisfied with his language skill and know- 
how, we have some recommendations: 


Read and listen 

Collect symbols 
as a hobby 

Know the "plus" 
in "Language is 
words plus" 

Write whether anyone reads your writing or not. 
Write your letters, your term papers, all your written 
work more fully and more carefully than you would 
need to. Write in your own good language, without 
self -consciousness. Afraid someone will find fault with 
your writing? Relax. It happens to everybody. 

Observe the use of language by others whose use of 
language you admire. The more skillful language- 
use you encounter the more will stick with you. Also, 
as you read and listen, look for evidence of language 
change; keep close to the living language. In 1970 
you should use the language of 1970, not this year's 

When you read, build your stock of useful symbols as 
you go; master the new words you run into. There's 
nothing magical about a big vocabulary; and an arti- 
ficially acquired one (say where you just start to learn 
A, Aardvark, etc., or to study a vocabulary list) is 
nothing, period. On the other hand, adding new 
words from day to day as you encounter them is edu- 
cation, no less, and a good language-skill builder. 

Don't let your thinking about language become too 
academic. Remember that language is a human trait, 
best studied in a human situation. If you listen, you 
can learn how to use language effectively at the 
garage or the bowling alley, at the sales conference or 
the political rally. Language shows how people feel 
as well as what they have to say; even what is not said 
can sometimes tell a great deal. Language is far 
more complex, individual, human, than it seems when 
its words line up in neat rows according to neat rules; 
research will tell us much more in the future about the 
nature, function, and far-reaching influence of lan- 

Language 69 

Develop a Keep your symbols separate in your mind from what 

semantic they stand for; beware of talking in circles of abstrac- 

orientation tions. Keep up with semantics to see what new light 

it can throw on language. 

Study leakage of A valuable part of your language knowhow will be 
meaning, and your awareness of the way meaning is put into symbols 

learn to plug and taken out, and of the ways meaning may get lost 

the holes in the process. Every situation where communication 

breaks down should be considered an opportunity to 
study this problem directly. Such study will teach 
you not only specific pitfalls to avoid, but also the full 
responsibilities of the writer to the reader, and the im- 
portance of establishing relationships as you write. 

Exercises and Problems 

1. Read and report on one of these books: 

Chase, Stuart. Power of Words. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., Inc., 

Flesch, Rudolf. How To Make Sense. New York: Harper & Bros., 

Hayakawa, S. I. Language in Thought and Action. New York: Harcourt, 

Brace & Co., Inc., 1949. 

2. Read the Fortune article on the Information Theory ( Decem- 
ber, 1953, page 136 and following). Report on its application to 
the way we get meaning; discuss its possible implications for com- 
munications and reporting. Check the periodical indexes for cur- 
rent articles on the same topic. 

3. Discuss the inadequacy of language as a carrier of meaning. 
Is there any chance of using technology to eliminate some of the 
loopholes in language? Would a new, consistent, "perfect" language 
solve the problem? 

4. Make a list of 10 more symbols from various fields to supple- 
ment the list on p. 54. 

5. Make operational definitions for 



traffic jam 


stuffed shirt 

butterflies in the stomach 

70 Report Writing 

6. Make a list of ten symbols (words this time) that you en- 
counter in your reading, and trace each one down to the process 
level, thus: 


John D. Doe 

what we can see, hear, sense on the experience level 

the process level: the whole functioning human mechanism 

Of course the more abstract the word you begin with, the more 
levels you will have to trace. 

7. Current English usage: material from an article by Norman 
Lewis, "How Correct Must Correct English Be?" Harpers Maga- 
zine, March, 1949. Mr. Lewis circulated this questionnaire to 
authors, editors, English teachers, and others who work with 
language; he received 468 replies. Before you read about his 
results, take the test yourself, and try it on at least three others whose 
use of language you respect. Then get the March, 1949, Harpers 
from the library and see how your results compare with his. Use 
the problem as a basis for class discussion. 

Current English Usage 

Directions: Here are nineteen expressions about which there is today 
a good deal of controversy, and we'd like your opinion, as an edu- 
cated adult, of their acceptability in everyday speech. 

Do not be influenced by whether these usages do or do not violate 
formal grammatical rules. Rather, indicate by an affirmative vote, 
that you would be willing to use the expression listed or that you 
believe such an expression has become sufficiently current in edu- 
cated American speech to be labeled acceptable usage; by a negative 
vote, that the expression, as used, is unacceptable in educated circles. 


1. His attitude makes me mad. (Mad as synonym for 


2. I will pay your bill if you accept my check. 

3. The reason I'm worried is because I think she's ill. 

4. His work is different than mine. 

5. We had a nice time at the party. 

6. Can I have another helping of dessert, please? 

7. I encountered less difficulties than I had expected. 

8. Everyone put on their coats and went home. 

Language 71 


9. How much money have you got? 

10. Due to the storm, all trains are late. 

11. She has an awful headache. 

12. We only have five left. (Position of only) 

13. Let's not walk any further right now. 

14. We must remember to accurately check each answer. 

15. He's one person I simply won't do business with. 

16. Go slow. 

17. It is me. 

18. She acts as if she was my wife. 

, 19. Who did you meet? 

8. Rewrite this report so that it will conform to good usage in 
every way: 

March 2, 1955 
Mr. K. L. Meyer 
Northrup Fabricating Co. 
Seattle, Washington 

Dear Mr. Meyer 

Following is the report you requested 
on the overtime situation at this plant. 

Checking with the personnel manager, 
he said the instrument mechanics were where the most 
of the compaints were coming from, I interviewed the 
40 men employed in that trade. 

I also interviewed all of the foreman 
throught the plant after which I can say with a cer- 
tanity that this report covers the entire plant as to 
the felling of the men employeed. 


Casper Amburgy 

The insturment mechanics have worked a total of 2045 
hrs overtime in the mos. of Jan. and Feb., this total 
was divided so unevenly as to have given one man 480 
hrs and another man only 8 hrs. 

This not only make employer-employees relation 
bad and the men discontended but it has started hard 
feelings amoung the men themselves. 

72 Report Writing 

Some of the men have got an I dont give a darn 
attitude. Many jobs now take a full eight hrs to do 
where before it might have only took two hrs. Some 
have to be done over 3 or 4 times before it is com- 
pleted correct. 

I believe this should be remied immediatly. 

Of the many recomendations I have had a chance 
to have heard from the men and foreman the most 
pratical one is; 

(1). Post a list of the employees names in 
the various trades. Give each overtime 
as their name come up on the list. 

(2)- If a man not care to work when their 
name come up he should be credit with 
the time on the list irregardless. 
When everyone have been credit with 
overtime start over. 

I beleive this system will keep the overtime even 
and the employees contended. 

9. A good way to get experience in establishing relationships 
for the reader is to synthesize sentences from fragments of ideas. 
Find a current article containing descriptive sentences, explanatory 
sentences, or whatever kind of sentences you would like to use for 
practice. Have a friend break each sentence up into as many pieces 
as possible and put each piece in a sentence or fragmentary sentence 
of its own; then see how well you can arrange the pieces and put 
them together. Of course there are many ways to put each set of 
fragmentary ideas together, and the original sentence may not be 
the best way. Here are some samples to practice on; when you 
have finished putting them together, check the footnote to see how 
their original author, Jerome Namias, wrote them. 

First sentence: The forecaster is a long-range forecaster. He works 
with one kind of data. He hardly ever uses any other kind. The 
kind he uses is about the upper air. He uses the character of the 
weather flow. Also he uses the movements of the weather flow. 
That is, the weather flow in the upper air. 

Second sentence: He takes this information. And he tries to deduce 
something. He hopes to figure out the weather conditions. The 

Language 73 

ones that will prevail over large areas. This is in the United States. 
These are not specific conditions he is after, but general conditions. 
He wonders whether it will be wetter than normal. Or drier. He 
is wondering about the weather a month ahead. He wonders 
whether it will be colder. Or it might be warmer. 

Third sentence: His forecast is called the extended forecast. There 
are some things it does not take in. An example would be, things 
like individual storms.* 

* Original form of sentences given above: 

The long-range forecaster works almost entirely with data about the 
character and movements of the weather flow in the upper air. With 
this information, he tries to deduce the general weather conditions that 
may prevail over large areas of the United States— whether, a month 
ahead, it will be wetter or drier than normal, or colder or warmer. The 
extended forecast does not take in things like individual storms. 

From The New York Times, June 6, 1954, Magazine Section, p. 34, "The 
Weatherman Explains the Weather," by Jerome Namias. 

Chapter 6 

Your language has a personality all its own. If I 
were to read a dozen letters or papers or reports you had writ- 
ten, it is very likely I would be able to recognize that person- 
ality, and say "I know who wrote this," if I saw a sample of your 
prose without your name on it. This special, individual per- 
sonality of language is style. 

Style in spoken language is like style in written language, 
except that it is expressed in more ways— by tone of voice 
(gentleness, firmness, sharpness, harshness), by pitch (high, 
medium, low), by intensity (softness, loudness), by speaking 
rate (rapidity, slowness, use of pauses), and by many other 
means (including gestures and facial expressions). A good 
example of the importance of these stylistic aids to speech is the 
story about Mark Twain— he had been shaving and his wife 
(who disapproved of swearing) had overheard his vivid lan- 
guage. She repeated a string of his best epithets to rebuke him; 
he replied, "You've got the words right, Livy, but you don't 
know the tune." * 

The writer of prose has no tune; he places words on paper 
one after the other, and the only way he has of raising his voice 
or pausing for emphasis is through the imagination of his reader 
or a few inadequate mechanical devices ( underlining, exclama- 
tion points, dashes, three or four dots ) . 

It is amazing, considering the handicaps of the written word 
in comparison with speech, that prose is able to develop much 
style at all. The style it has depends mostly on the reader's 
wide previous experience with language and his resultant abil- 
ity to catch individual differences in the use of symbols to 

* Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain, a Biography (New York: Harper & 
Bros., 1912), Vol. 1, p. 559. 


Style 75 

express and to imply meanings. The reader uses his imagina- 
tion to supply intonation and other speech dynamics as he 
reads; if he reads "Moider de umpire" he knows that the sound 
of the words in his mind should be different from the sound of 
"To determine the hypotenuse, take the square root of the sum 
of the squares of the other two sides." The writer's tools are 
merely choice of words, order of words, and punctuation, but 
given a perceptive and experienced reader he can get a lot of 
personality across with them. 

It is interesting that the first stylistic experiments in writing 
by a grade-school pupil tend to overwork the mechanical de- 
vices; carried away by the possibilities of "raising her voice" by 
underlining words, the fifth-grader underlines practically every- 
thing; excited by the potentialities of exclamation points, he 
(or she) uses them in bunches; a particularly startling bit of 
gossip about a schoolmate may deserve as many as ! ! ! ! ! Often 
the language used by adults seems so limiting in its ability to 
assert personality or to attract attention that the child or youth 
adds to it, inventing a language of his own. Sometimes aspects 
of the unusual, over-elaborate style of youth will persist ( like a 
weakness for lavender ink) into adulthood. 

A highly individualized style may be an asset and not merely 
an idiosyncrasy in adulthood. TV comedians, syndicated col- 
umnists, writers of personal essays or humorous articles, poli- 
ticians, and salesmen are among the many who make style pay. 
Stylist Red Barber's odd ways of saying things are so well 
known that stylist James Thurber was able to base a successful 
short story on them: "The Catbird Seat." Personality sells cars 
and oil stock and vacuum sweepers and haircuts; it gets jobs 
and wins elections. And style is not merely an expression of 
personality: it is part of personality. 

Style in Reports. Style is a highly controversial matter in 

Some books and teachers say that No style, NO individuality 
can go into a report. A report deals with facts, they say; it 
should have no more personality than a statistical table has. 
Style belongs properly to language used to persuade or to please 
—to sales letters, advertising copy, short stories, essays— but not 
to the language used to report. The report writer should sup- 

76 Report Writing 

press his individuality completely; he should translate fact into 
symbol without intruding himself into the process in any way. 
His language should not be the language he uses to buy 
cigarettes or to make a business appointment, for that language 
has personality; his language should be instead "the language of 
science" or "the language of economic forecasting" or the lan- 
guage of whatever is being reported. 

There is strong criticism of using a special "language of 
science" from those who feel that style cannot be separated 
from reports. There is no language of science, they say; there 
is just language. What is often called the language of science 
is a stylistic variation of ordinary language— for being precise, 
objective, impersonal, addicted to scientific jargon, and a little 
dull adds up to a kind of style. And this style of science— far 
from making science clearer and easier to understand— actually 
has been shown by test to be less readable than ordinary lan- 
guage to scientist and layman alike. Also, they ask, how can 
all personality be removed from language? If it were theo- 
retically possible to take all the personality out of a paragraph, 
then that paragraph would have the very distinctive style or 
personality of being without personality. If a man's face, say, 
were perfectly blank— no features at all— no eyes, nose, mouth— 
wouldn't he be distinctive and even striking in appearance? You 
wouldn't say he had "no appearance"— on the contrary. 

Fortunately it is not possible to remove all personality from 
language— and fortunately the trend is away from trying to. 
Tradition is not enough of a reason to use a stilted, artificial 
style for reports; if we'd let tradition have its way we'd still be 
writing all our important documents in Latin. Not that reports 
should sound like William Faulkner or W. Somerset Maugham; 
not that report writers should inject personality for its own 
sake the way some direct mail and advertising men do. Just 
plain English will do— good, clear, living language, neither 
spiked with a little old and rare personality to give it a kick 
nor treated so that 98 per cent of the human elements are 

Fig. 13 shows an example that I like— a report Max Allen 

Style 77 











Rupp , Jr . 

November 15, 1951 

TO: Mr. R.P. Hindman, Works Metallurgist 

Butler Division 

FROM: P.M. Allen 

SUBJECT: Pickling of Bright Annealed 2 Mil 18-10 Ti 

When Bill Rupp returned to Butler this week he took two 
samples to be given to you of 2 mil, bright annealed 18-10 Ti. 
The history of these samples follows: 

Sample #1 

Bright annealed at Butler 
Pickled - 5 feet/minute at 170°F. 
Acid bath proportions - 

60 gallons water 

20 gallons nitric acid 

Tank length - 12 feet 

Sample #2 

Bright annealed at Butler 

As you can readily see, there has been very little dulling of 
the bright surface of the pickled sample. This pickled 
surface is much brighter than has been desired by Thompson 
in the past. 

The end of this same coil had a light scale on it. This scale 
was not completely removed during pickling under the above 

In order to produce a #1 finish on the rest of the bright 
annealed coils, it was necessary to scale the surface with a 

Figure 13. Memorandum Report Showing Unaffected Use of Language in 
Technical Writing. (Used by permission.) 

78 Report Writing 

regular annealing treatment followed by a pickle. The metal 
surface was slightly darker on the bright annealed coils 
than on the hard rolled coils which were scale annealed and 
pickled. However, the darkening should not be objection- 

P.M. Allen 

Junior Research Engineer 

Research Laboratories 

Figure IS— Concluded. 

What would the lover of stilted scientific language do with 
that? Possibly he'd begin the third paragraph "It was noted 
that before being subjected to the pickling process Sample #1 
showed a slight scaling on its surface near one of its extremities." 

What would he lose? Readability, certainly, and some of his 
reader's time. What would he gain? Respect? I think not. 
Industry does not evaluate words by weight or specific gravity. 
Some professional associations may (but judging from some of 
the sprightly and readable scientific papers I've encountered 
lately I'm inclined to doubt it ) ; business and industry certainly 
do not. I'll bet my money on Max's way for the future. 

Jargon. The most obvious thing about the style of poorly 
written reports is their use of jargon. Jargon is a facet of style; 
report-writing jargon, like any other kind, is a symptom of care- 
less use of language. 

In the first place, jargon probably comes from sterility of 
language, from inability of the writer to focus or concentrate 
his attention on his writing, or from the desire to make an im- 
pression. The writer knows he talked to four salesmen to find 
out why their orders for Model Y had fallen off sharply. He 
wants his report to sound impressive from the very beginning; 
he feels sure it would not do to say simply and directly what he 
did. The "blah's" in the following passage will be filled with 
jargon as he writes. 

In order to blah, find out why Model Y isn't selling, blah, blah. 
I, that is the writer, blah, talked, blah, with four salesmen, who 
ought to know, blah, blah. Blah, blah, I, that is the writer, blah, 
am going to put down, blah, blah, what they told me, blah, blah. 

Style 79 

Now let's try it with the jargon, using the stilted phrase and 
the cliche wherever there seems to be a likely opening: 

In order to pin-point the nature of the reason for the progressive 
declination in the market curve for our Model Y, the writer spent 
some time in discussing this matter with a number of our most 
capable sales representatives, men who are in a position to keep an 
experienced eye on the fluctuations and variations in the broad 
market pattern. In the pages which follow the material presented 
is their interpretation of the market situation as these facts became 
known to the writer in pursuance of investigation of the problem 
at hand. 

We may have overdone it a little, but you get the idea. 
Jargon is a kind of double-talk. It says things the long way 
'round, on the general theory that it doesn't pay to use three 
little words when eleven big ones will do as well. It runs to 
cliches and overworked expressions; it prefers the vague to the 
specific and the fuzzy to the incisive every time. It is a kind of 
substitute for plain English used by those who feel that plain 
English is either too plain or too much trouble to write or both. 
But it isn't effective, for the simple reason that it offends the 
"listening ear" of the reader. You know how it is with you 
when you listen to a dull, windy speech— pretty soon you are 
just hearing blahs and getting nothing whatever from them 
except noise, plus perhaps annoyance or resentment. 

If we are to be quite fair we must admit that many men who 
respect plain English and are fully capable of writing it are 
addicted to jargon as a kind of narcotic habit. They picked it 
up quite innocently by reading reports by other people, and 
many of them have no idea how strong a hold the habit has 
on them. 

The best way to get rid of jargon is simply to write plain 
English, and to eliminate all language from a report that you 
wouldn't use in a careful but extemporaneous oral report. 
There is no need to refer to a glossary of report jargon— ask 
yourself if you would say it, and if you wouldn't say, don't 
write it. All but the most common cliches will be caught by 
this test— and if a cliche is a commonplace in careful spoken 
English it is probably firmly enough entrenched in the language 
to pass as plain English. 

80 Report Writing 

This is probably the place to say that we recognize the big 
difference between speaking and writing. We don't suggest 
"writing like you talk" with all the "uh's" and "ah's" and back- 
trackings and repetitions. We know the language of the bowl- 
ing alley and the clubhouse is inappropriate for reports. But the 
careful language of the oral report is appropriate for written 
reports after we screen out the special signals and the structural 
peculiarities of speech. 

Subjectivity and Objectivity. If a report is to be used as the 
basis for executive decision it must be objective. However, 
reports may be one thing and seem another. A report may be 

( 1 ) Based on objective research and written in objective style. 

( 2 ) Based on subjective material and written in objective style. 

( 3 ) Based on objective research and written in subjective style. 

( 4 ) Based on subjective material and written in subjective style. 

Though strict interpretation would allow only ( 1 ) and ( 3 ) 
to qualify as reports at all, the order of believability and ap- 
parent authority of the group would be ( 1 ) and ( 2 ) equal, fol- 
lowed by (3) and (4) equal; (2), which is not to be trusted, is 
far more likely to be trusted than (3), which has a sound basis. 

In other words, with nothing to go by but the report in his 
hands the reader's judgment of subjectivity and objectivity is 
determined by the style— the way it is said— although the writ- 
er's approach to getting his material may be misrepresented by 
that style. 

It seems obvious that the report writer needs to develop an 
objective style. But objective style isn't achieved by use of 
third person ( "the writer" ) instead of "I." Somehow this avoid- 
ance of "I" has become confused with the whole idea of objec- 
tivity in some academic courses in reporting. Objectivity means 
something else entirely, something far more important; it would 
save a lot of our time if the avoidance of one word would 
achieve it. There is nothing wrong with avoiding "I," by the 
way— if we said there was we'd be buried under a mountain of 
brickbats. The controversy stirred up by that one little word, 
particularly in engineering reporting and engineering reports 
teaching, is hard to believe. Technical reports traditionally 
avoid any hint of personal opinion or any use of the first person, 

Style 81 

and some firms and schools make the prohibition of "I" a rigid 
rule. Times are changing, and we see more and more good 
technical reports that use "I"; someday the prohibition will 
have to be lifted. If you can get away with using "I," go ahead 
—though use it with judgment; if the rule where you write is NO, 
don't let the use of "the writer" become a habit that you can't 
break when the rule is lifted. Using "I" with judgment would 
mean rephrasing "I saw that there were several changes I 
would have to make in my equipment before I could start 
carrying out my plan for the experiments," perhaps to "The plan 
for the experiments made several changes in equipment neces- 
sary." However, "Mr. King asked the writer several questions" 
should be "Mr. King asked me several questions." 

The objective style reports; it does not make inferences or 
judgments (see pp. 259-64, Semantics). The objective style 
does not exaggerate or seem to exaggerate; it does not make 
large, loose statements that no one could prove or disprove. 
The objective style is concrete; it gives examples and refers to 
experiments, controlled studies, or tables of figures to support 
its statements. The objective style stays clear of any hint of 
personal bias or of the writer's holding a preconceived opinion. 
The objective style is wary of connotations, accidental or on 
purpose. And of course the objective style is most convincing 
when it is honest— when it is based on objective research. The 
objective approach may be put like this: reporting the facts 
shown on the indicators of his laboratory instruments, the 
report writer should become himself a laboratory instrument 
—a camera taking a word-photograph of the instrument 

Exercises and Problems 

1. Make a specialized collection of individual or unusual ways 
of saying things under one of these headings: 

Style in sports writing 

Style in James Thurber's stories 

Style in teen-age conversation 

Style in advertising copy 

Style in sales letters 

Style in the New Yorker 

82 Report Writing 

2. Make a collection of jargon peculiar to some special field 
(sports, engineering, economics, teaching, letter-writing). 

3. Make a collection of jargon generally shared by all fields 
( cliches and stock phrases such as "in the case of," "in due course" ) . 

4. Discuss the case for and against jargon. Isn't it true that 
many usages once considered jargon are now standard English? 

5. Discuss the case for and against personality in reports. 

6. "No one can be 100 per cent objective; he is a human being, 
seeing, hearing, feeling with a human's senses, thinking with a 
human's brain— and all these human factors bring the subjective ele- 
ment in." Discuss. 

7. Collect opinions on the use of the first person in reports from 
science teachers, business writing teachers, and business teachers; 
industrial executives who use, assign, or write reports; and textbooks 
and reference sources (including the ABWA Bulletin). Make these 
opinions the basis for a class discussion of the question. 

Chapter 7 

The Use of Graphic Devices. Some reports use graphic 
devices to supplement the text; some don't. Tables, charts, and 
graphs are worth while if they make information more mean- 
ingful to the reader or if they make information meaningful 
more quickly. Their use depends on the reader, then, and on 
the nature and level of difficulty of the subject. They should 
not be used for their own sake, or from force of habit; James 
Lillis of Burroughs (at the Wayne University Business Com- 
munications Conference, 1950) singled out "the willy-nilly 
preparation of graphs by amateurs" as one of the major pitfalls 
of reporting. If the report content is clearest and most readily 
understood in prose, we use prose. If the report contains in- 
formation that seems logically to fit into orderly columns, a 
table will best show the interrelationship of such information 
and will probably increase readability. If the report contains 
information that can be visualized better in space, through 
charts or graphs, than in prose, we use charts or graphs. Often 
we use all three. 

Lists and Tables. The simplest kind of graphic device is the 
list. It makes items in a series stand out, either by the use of 
numbers or letters in parentheses running along in the text or 
by using separate lines and indention, with or without numbers 
or letters, for each item. Lists are used a good deal in reports, 
likewise in texts. For examples see pp. 127, 182-83, and many 
other places in this book. 

Tables can also be quite simple, but some, as the following 
pages show, are designed to carry out several functions at once. 
They are extremely useful in presenting a variety of material 
for easy comparison. 


84 Report Writing 

There is no one right way to make a table; the use of lines, dots, 
or other mechanical dividers to separate the lines or columns 
varies greatly, though the tendency is toward simplicity. Here 
is a brief, uncomplicated table from The Aluminum Data Book, 
a technical publication of the Reynolds Aluminum Company. 
The table occurs as part of the text. 

Aluminum Alloy Maximum Forging Temperatures 

32S . 800 F 

18S 820 F 

14S, 17S, R317 840F 

25S 860 F 

A51S, 61S 880 F 

Figures 14, 15, and 16 show a group of more complex tables 
from the same source. These tables demonstrate some of the 
range of use that tables can have. 





Inches or Percent of 
Nominal Dimension 


up thru 



+ 2'/2%, ±.010 min. 


flange width 

±2'/ 2 %, ±Vi«min. 




±2'/ 2 %, +.010 min. 

up thru 


flange width 

+ 2'/2%, ±Vi 6 min. 




±2'/2%, ±VUmin. 





+ 21/2%, +.010 min. 

up thru 
10 inches 





flange width 




+ 3 /a, — Vl« 

Figure 14. Table from The Aluminum Data Book, Published by the Rey- 
nolds Metals Company. (By permission.) 

Visual Aids 85 



Alloy Alloy 

A— 2S F— 61 S 

B— 3S G— R301 

C— C50S H— 24S 

D— 52S J— 75S 
E— 4S 



















H-12 andH-32 













H-14 and H-34 














.01 6S 


Figure 15. Table from The Aluminum Data Book, Published by the Rey- 
nolds Metals Company. (By permission.) 

Graphs and Maps. Graphs, which may be thought of as 
including map graphs or even maps, are the form of visual aid 
most widely used in report writing.* One of the two most 
popular graph forms is the line graph. Fig. 17 from the Cham- 
pion Paper & Fibre Company shows caption (at left), vertical 
scales on both right and left for the reader's convenience, hori- 
zontal scale along the bottom below the base line or zero line, 
and two lines, both labeled, one broken and one solid, across 
the grid. The other most popular graph form is the bar graph. 
Fig. 18, an example from the same company, shows the caption 
at top left, the key below the caption (the key explains the 
meaning of the different colors or shadings used for the bars ) , 
and the bars running vertically from the base line. Each pair 
of bars is dated, and each bar is labeled with its value. 

A third kind of graph also considerably used is the pie graph, 
as in Fig. 19. As you can see, it is the best device for segmen- 
tation—for making clear how something is sliced up into parts. 

* For standard engineering practice in using and preparing graphs, refer to 
American Standards Association Z 15.3, Engineering and Scientific Graphs for 
Publications (New York: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1947). 


Report Writing 



























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Report Writing 











Visual Aids 

Champion Employment 

6344 5879 5841 5902 6020 7180 8028 7496 7298 7685 8061 8373 
1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 

•II MonlM fnc/e<f Morch 31 

Figure 18. Bar Graph from 1952 Annual Report of the Champion Paper & 
Fibre Company. ( By permission. ) 

Breakdown of sales dollar 


Figure 19. Pie Graph from the 1952 Annual Report of Republic Aviation 
Corporation. ( By permission. ) 


Report Writing 


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and preferred, rose '<> a n< ■<<, lii^h of i ' '. 1 1 < ' jm 1952. 
Tlii- is an in.n-w ■(' nearh 800 as compared with 
ly&X. Tbealliwsp rh&tt portrays the HUiiTJbBT'ftf sfo&i*?- 
holders \>\ classes. Individuals, nwn and women 

Oi' fh. total slur- hi ]().Wi riMiTmcm and 2.201 
preferred stockholders. Near!) orte-tftird iivi? 

-ea. Oiberc 

w&l*; in «*ve*y ifa£e *»ui several inreijzn land*,, 
P8fjfl3eir>«itioo > la trie Employee*.' Str»rk ^as'lia» , 

approval ' • c>iip?«y»Sf^ ir-; ' " . was erf-. aimed ' - 
unothfi 5(i.(HX) rf-.r.- .rf,l,,f in 1952 Ai the end o< 
1*KS2. ther** wer« 5B0 w«jfjl«vee* o^nln^ S'1^86 ^baft», r 
of com mo j. u-re |*nr- 

.!:j-'.i under ih. }■ nt j ») - . ><-.-" Stork Plan. 

Figure 20. Picture Graph from 1952 Annual Report of The Dayton Power 
and Light Company. (By permission.) 

The term picture graph is also used, but actually the picture 
graph is just a development of one of the other kinds. The 
pie graph just given has pictures with it. Fig. 20 is a bar graph 
with pictures of faces added to humanize the presentation. 

Maps are commonly thought of as belonging in atlases, his- 
tories, and geographies, but certain kinds of maps, such as the 

Visual Aids 





V— — -j^ sionev 

■P — i 


.1 X 

ks _ 

I """ 50 " }*• — -» . ,*,,, .: V 

• District Headquarters 

it Division Headquarters 

■■MMa Principal D.P.&L. Gas Main 

>•— •• Suppliers (Transmission) 

Propane Gas Plant 



Figure 21. Map Graph from 1952 Annual Report of The Dayton Power 
and Light Company. ( By permission. ) 


Report Writing 


Research and development activities are carried out by a number 
of different units in the Company. The integration of these units 
in the Company organization is shown in the chart below. 

Figure 22. Organization chart, from "Research and Development," a 
pamphlet published by The Procter & Gamble Company on the occasion of the 
dedication of the Miami Valley Laboratories at Venice, Ohio, September 12, 
1952. (By permission.) 

Visual Aids 




Figure 23. Diagram Showing TV Wave Paths. (By permission, from 
General Electric Review, July, 1954, p. 14.) 

one in Fig. 21, have their reporting uses too. Sometimes such 
maps are called map graphs. 

Charts, Diagrams, and Flowsheets. Charts are so closely re- 
lated to graphs that they are sometimes included under graphs. 
However, we prefer to classify the chart as a visual represen- 


K>a metal 



Figure 24. Simplified Flowsheet Showing Production Flow at Transformer 
Plant. (By permission, from General Electric Review, July, 1954, p. 23.) 


Report Writing 

tation between the graph and the diagram, especially the kind 
used to show organizational interrelationships, as in Fig. 22. 

Diagrams are the kind of visual representation used to show 
the parts of and working relationships in machines, electrical 
circuits, factories, and the like. (See Fig. 23.) If the diagram 
shows step-by-step procedures, as from the beginning to the end 
of a chemical experiment, or the progress from raw material to 
finished product, as in Fig. 24, it is called a flow diagram or 

Figure 25. Conveyor Roller on Boom Control Mechanism. (An illustration 
from the report quoted on pp. 140 ff. By permission. ) 

Photographs and Drawings. Sometimes the most suitable 
way to transmit information in a report is by using actual 
photographs. These may be taken by the person preparing the 
report, but they are more likely to be borrowed, with proper 
acknowledgments. Fig. 25 is an illustration from the report on 
pp. 140-47, "Current Sales Outlook of the Strip Mining In- 

Visual Aids 



Living Beneficiaries 

Payments to Living Policy Owners 
and Beneficiaries 

1953 in Review 

For New York Life 1953 was a very good year 
in terms of increased benefit payments, record 
sales, higher investment earnings, an improved 
product and a strengthened organization for better 
service to our policy owners. 


During 1953 your Company paid out well over a 
quarter of a billion dollars to policy owners and 
to the beneficiaries of New York Life policies. 
Significantly, the larger proportion of these pay- 
ments went to the policy owners themselves. This 
is not to deny that the basic function of life insur- 
ance is protection for the family in case of death. 
The fact that New York Life paid out more than 
$100 million to the beneficiaries of about 24,000 
policy owners in 1953 is evidence enough of this 
continuing need and service. But there has been a 
growing volume of payments to policy owners and 
this indicates that our product, the policy contract, 
is performing an additional role in society. 



Payments to Policy Owners 

and Beneficiaries 



In Death Benefits 



To Policy Owners 






Matured Endowments 



Annuity Benefits 



Accident and Sickness 




Surrender Benefits 



In the past year, payments to policy owners in- 
cluded some $25 million under matured endow- 
ments. Before these policies matured and made 
funds available for such purposes as the college 
education of children or the financing of a new 

Figure 26. Graphs in Context— Variations in Placement of Visual Aids and 
Text. (By permission, from 1953 Annual Report of New York Life Insurance 
Company. ) 

96 Report Writing 


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98 Report Writing 

dustry of Southern Indiana, Southern Illinois, and Eastern 
Missouri," by Juvenal C. Schnorbus, Jr. 

Modern Trends in Graphic Devices. Figs. 26 and 27 show 
some possible variation in the combination of visual aids with 
text. Fig. 27 shows two modern three-dimensional or struc- 
tural line graphs, and also illustrates the trend toward use of 
captions which say something about the information contained 
in the graph. Instead of "An Analysis of Market Changes in 
Middle-Priced Models, 1945-55" the modern graph says 
"Middle-priced models double market from 1945 to 1955." 
The old-style caption might as well say "I am a graph showing 
something about market changes in middle-priced models. Can 
you figure out what it is that I show about them?" The modern 
caption cuts the time required to analyze the graph. 

Adaptation in Visual Aids. The graph should be appropriate 
to its reader and to its subject-matter. If the audience for the 
report has technical training, a graph may not be needed at all; 
the less technical background the reader has, the more useful 
graphs are, and the more pictorial and easy-to-read each graph 
should be. Graphs prepared for stockholders or non-technical 
employees may use unusual colors, photomontages, or other 
devices adapted from advertising to hold the interest of readers 
while meaning is being conveyed. There is no rule to keep 
graphs prepared for technically trained men from trying some 
variety, for that matter— though tradition has so far prevented 
scientific reports from blossoming out as reports to stockholders 
have done. The attractive covers, pictorial inserts (often in 
full color), and varied typography of stockholder reports have 
nonetheless had some influence on all reporting. 

Exercises and Problems 

1. Make a collection of visual aids used in reports and technical 
publications. Bring them to class for analysis. What percentage 
use color? Are bar or line graphs more popular? Are captions 
modern or old-style? How many use pictures as part of the graph? 

2. Study the visual aids (tables, charts, graphs) used as part 
of advertisements in an issue or two of Fortune or Duns Review. 

Visual Aids 99 

How do they differ from the visual aids used in reports and technical 

3. What types of graph could be used to show the number of 
minutes you study for all your classes each day for seven days? 

4. How could you construct a graph to show how many minutes 
of each hour of the 24 you spent in study on each of the seven days? 

5. Would it be possible to compare your hour-by-hour study 
pattern with that of a classmate on the same graph? How? 

6. What ways can be used to distort information by using a 
graph? Do you have examples of such distortion of information? 

7. Can all tables be represented graphically? Defend your 


Preparing the Report 

Chapter 8 


So far we have considered reports as custom-built or 
individually prepared means of carrying information in writing. 
We have considered full reports, all written out in prose, as con- 
trasted with fill-in-the-blanks reports, memoranda, or punched- 
card reporting systems. 

The Full Report, from Two Points of View. Paul Wilgus, 
industrial salesman, visited nine customers yesterday. Some 
bought; some didn't. Two had questions for the home office; 
one had a complaint. One asked for an extension of time on a 
bill. At the end of the afternoon Paul went to the Drake Hotel 
for dinner and then in his hotel room wrote nine reports, one 
on each of the calls he made during the day. The reports were 
very much alike, but each had to be placed on a separate sheet 
of paper and given what Paul's boss calls "the full treatment." 
Paul has often heard the boss say it: "When I want a report on 
those calls, I want a report, now, none of those six- word notes. 
I want to know when you got there, what you talked about, 
when you left— everything, mind you; give it the full treatment." 

From Paul's point of view, the full treatment is a nuisance 
and worse— a rankling sore point— the thing he likes least about 
his company. It means a late start on an evening that won't 
be much anyway, an intrusion of the company into Paul's pri- 
vate time. It means also— and this Paul can't forgive— that the 
boss doesn't trust him to pay his calls. The reports are "full" 
to prove to the boss that Paul saw the customers and talked 
with them, Paul feels. He has never known the boss to make 
any other use of the details in his reports. 

From the boss's point of view, the full treatment is a daily 
reminder to his salesmen that the calls they make are more 



Report Writing 


Street Address. 
City and State. 

Called with Mr^ 



_ fiHe 



□ ADD 

D Large D Medium Q Small 

D Follow Up □ Service 
D Inquiry Q Goodwill 

□ New Call □ Coverage 


D Order □ Lost Order 
D Inquiry D General 
D Must Quote □ Trouble 
For other remarks see letter 



Street Address. 
City and State. 



□ ADD 


□ Large □ Medium D Small 




[."] Follow Up D Service 
□ Inquiry □ Goodwill 

ll) New Call D Coverage 

D Order □ lost Order 
D Inquiry D General 
D Must Quote □ Trouble 
For other remarks see letter 



Street Address 

City and State 




MAIUNG L.ST □ jj» 

D Large D Medium D Small 



Called with 1 

D Follow Up □ Service 

□ Inquiry Q Goodwill 

□ New Call D Coverage 


□ Order □ Lost Order 

□ Inquiry □ General 

□ Must Quote □ Trouble 
For other remarks see letter 

Dated . . 



□ ADD 



Street Address- 
City and State. 

D Large D Medium D Sn 



□ Follow Up D Service 

□ Inquiry Q Goodwill 

□ New Call □ Coverage 


□ Order □ Lost Order 

□ Inquiry □ General 

□ Must Quote □ Trouble 
For other remarks see letter 







Company . . 
Street Address. 
City and State. 

D Large D Medium Q Small 


D Follow Up □ Service 
□ Inquiry Q Goodwill 

D New Call □ Coverage 


□ Order □ Lost Order 

□ Inquiry □ General 

□ Must Quote □ Trouble 
For other remarks see letter 



Street Address 

City and State 

I ° A,i I 



□ ADD 



□ Large Q Medium Q Small 





Called v 



□ Follow Up □ Service 

□ Inquiry □ Goodwill 
D New Call □ Coverage 

D Order D Lost Order 
□ Inquiry □ General 
D Must Quote D Trouble 
For other remarks see letter 

Miles Driven Today 

Planning for Tomorrow. 

Figure 28. Form Sales Report. 
Company. ) 

(By permission of Monarch Machine Tool 

than a matter of cut-and-dried routine. The boss knows that 
some firms use fill-in- the-blanks forms; in fact, he tried them 
once himself. He says he can t bear to think of a salesman 
paying a call on old Ed Grubb at Lewiston Mining Co. with 
that form in his hand. "Mr. Grubb, I'm with Sandler Gear. It 

Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 105 

says here, how do you like the gears you bought from us? OK? 
Good. It says here, do you need any replacements, and if so, 
how many? No? Well, it says here, will you be needing any 
new gears, and if so, how many, and when? No? That's too 
bad. Well, I guess that's all I'm supposed to ask you, Mr. 
Grubb. Goodbye." There is some merit in knowing what the 
conversation was really about, the boss says; it is a good thing 
to be able to check up on a salesman from time to time to see 
that he isn't going stale. Helps in breaking in new men, too. 

Paul and the boss both have some good arguments in their 
favor. There are some arguments against the boss's point of 
view that Paul didn't know about, however— the full reports are 
more expensive, harder to file, more affected by variations 
among salesmen and therefore harder to use as a source of 
comparative data. In spite of these points, some companies 
continue to use the full reports for sales, though in most com- 
panies their place has been taken by punched-card systems 
(see p. 109) or by forms like the one illustrated as Fig. 28. 

In general, when the full report is used in a reporting situa- 
tion of any kind it is because that situation calls for evaluation, 
interpretation, analysis, or reorganization of the straight facts 
for some specific purpose. In many specialized fields there are 
other reasons for using the full report: Paul's boss, for example, 
used it to help break in new salesmen. By studying the ap- 
proach they used as it was reflected in their reports, he learned 
what advice to give them. If neither the general reasons nor 
special reasons exist, there is no point in using the full report; 
it can profitably be replaced by a simpler reporting method. 

Forms. It is obviously foolish to have a report writer repeat 
information on report after report; the parts which would be 
repeated can be printed to save him the trouble. The Daily 
Service Report used by the Monarch Machine Tool Company 
(Fig. 29) is typical of thousands of time-saving and money- 
saving forms in use. This form does not do away with the need 
for the writer to use prose, though it does eliminate the need 
for the writer to plan the report and organize his material. 

Mr. Clifford Fening of the Personnel Division of Baldwin- 
Lima-Hamilton Corporation changed over to forms for his de- 
partment's personnel analysis reports in 1954; he explains that 

106 Report Writing 



Sidney, Ohio 

Date Shipped- 


Headstock □ Taper Attachment □ Rapid Traverse □ Alignments □ End Gearing □ 

Gear Box □ Tailstock D Form Turning □ Keller □ Electrical □ 

Apron D Relieving Attachment □ T. A. Variator □ Bed Type Turret □ Special Parts □ 

Carriage □ Sub-Headstock D Auto. Sizing □ Ram Type Turret □ Operator □ 

EE Electrical D Keller Electrical Q Auto. Sizing Elec. □ Magna-Matic Elec. D Regular Elee. □ 


Production data form on reverse side of this sheet. 

Approved by Has call been completed? Yes_ 

Figure 29. Daily Service Report. ( By permission of the Monarch Machine 
Tool Company.) 

forms make it possible for a clerk or secretary to prepare the 
reports while otherwise executive time would be wasted in 
their preparation. 

The form illustrated as Fig. 30 is one of a series prepared 
weekly; similar reports are made for each of the shops, for the 

Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 



Month of 19 

Brass Foundry 

1* Molder Helpers 


Add Deduct 





5 Brass Molders 

6 Olerk 

7 Casting Shippers 

8 Core Makers 

9 Apprentice Molders 

1 Iron Molders 

2 Core Makers 

3 Apprecntlce Core Makers 

11 Molder Helpers 

12 Casting Chlppers 

13 Sand Blasters 

11* Yard Laborers 

15 Core Room Laborers 

\6 Foundry Laborers 

17 Millwrights 

19 Clerks 

21 Night Crane Operators 

20 Crane Operators 

22 Night Laborers 

25 Pattern Storage 

10 Cupola 

23 Niles Pattern Shop 

2k H.O.R. Pattern Shop 


Figure 30. Foundry Personnel Report Form. (By permission of Baldwin- 
Lima-Hamilton Corporation. ) 

toolroom, for the powerhouse, and for the office personnel 
throughout the company. These reports are then used in the 
preparation of the weekly personnel analysis report, which 
makes it possible to control the balance of productive and non- 
productive employees and to keep an exact check on the whole 


pupsomnur, AHALYSIS 





Machine Shop J 

10 Hlles Shop 

20 H.O.H. fl Shop 

27 H.O.B. #2 Shop 

30 Diesel "A" Shop 

36 Diesel "B" Shop 

39 Diesel "B" Tool Boom 

kO Machine Shop-Othere 

kk Shop Engineering 

kS Process Engineering 

1*8 Power House-Heating 

1*9 Power House-Others 

50 Iron Foundry 

57 Brass Foundry 

58 Pattern Shop 

59 Pattern Storage 

60 General Shop-Others 

61 Packing 4 Shipping , 

62 Gen. Shop-Inventory 

63 " ■ -Employ. 4 Welfare 

(k « " -Purchasing 

65 " " -Watchmen 

66 » " -Traffic 

67 " " -Safety 

68 ■ " -Planning 4 Control 

69 ■ ■ -Blue Print 

70 Eng. General 

71 * Machine Tool 

72 " Diesel Engine 

73 " Can Machinery 

7k " Other Products 

75 ■ Laboratory 

79 " Detroit 

80 Selling - Hamilton 

83 " - Detroit 

Bk * - Chicago 

85 ■ - Hew Tork 

86 " - Pittsourg 

87 " - Washington 

88 ■ - Estimating 

89 ■ - Export 

90 G. 4 A.-Others 

96 0. 4 A.-Taoulatlng 

97 G. 4 A.-Payroll 

98 G. 4 A— Cost 

99 G. 4 A.-Malllng 4 Messenger 



Machine Shop: 
10 Hllee 

20 H.O.B. #1 Shop 

27 H.O.H. #2 Shop 

30 Diesel "A B Shop 

36 Diesel "B" Shop 

50 Iron Foundry 

57 Brass Foundry 



Figure 31. Personnel Analysis Report Form. (By permission of Baldwin- 
Lima-Hamilton Corporation. ) 


Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 109 

personnel pattern of the company. The new personnel analysis 
form is shown as Fig. 31. The three columns under "Total Em- 
ployees" are for a control week's figures (say 2-6-54), last 
week's figures (5-8-54), and this week's figures (5-15-54). The 
three columns under "increase or (decrease)" are for the 
change from control week to last week ( 2-6-54 to 5-8-54 ) , the 
change from last week to this week (5-8-54 to 5-15-54) and 
the change from control week to this week ( 2-6-54 to 5-15-54 ) . 
The parentheses around "(decrease)" mean that figures entered 
in the columns showing change are entered in parentheses if 
they show a decrease. 

If it were not for the stronger trend to punched-card sys- 
tems, it would be safe to say that there is a definite trend toward 
the use of forms wherever they are appropriate. As it is, the 
trend pattern is complex, though it is definitely toward the 
simpler systems. 

Punched-Card Systems. It may be misleading to call 
punched-card systems "simple"— the machines that make them 
possible are anything but simple. The simplification comes in 
classifying, filing, and using the information the cards contain. 

Basically, a punched-card system includes a punching ma- 
chine which punches the information into the cards in a pat- 
tern of rectangular or round holes, and a machine or series of 
machines to read the information by mechanical, electrical, or 
electronic contact through the holes. The machines which read 
the information use it to perform a wide range of functions, 
from simple alphabetizing or sorting to tabulating and com- 
puting. Frequently the TV program Dragnet shows the Los 
Angeles Police Department punched-card system at work; the 
operator supplies the collating machine with a witness' de- 
scription of an unidentified criminal wanted by the department 
—his approximate age, height, color of hair, and the type of 
crime committed— and then runs thousands of cards on known 
criminals through the machine. The machine sorts out all the 
cards which fit the information it has received, piling them in 
a neat stack, and Sergeant Friday and Officer Smith then start 
to question the men named on the cards. 

Information is put on the cards in the first place from sev- 
eral possible sources: reports, forms, printed material. Often 

110 Report Writing 

the cards themselves contain blanks— miniature forms— which 
are filled out at the source of the information, in the plant or 
out in the sales territory; the cards are then sent in to the punch 
operator who punches into the cards the information they 
already contain in longhand. The information itself is not 
changed or improved by being placed on the card; what is 
gained is phenomenal ease of access to the information and 
greatly increased accuracy and efficiency of use of the in- 

Punched-card systems are used in accounting, sales, per- 
sonnel, industrial management, market research, banking, the 
armed services, the F.B.I., the U.S. Treasury Department and 
many other governmental agencies; in university administra- 
tion, hotel and hospital management, research laboratory in- 
formation control— in fact, in nearly every kind of work where 
the handling of information is complex and extensive. Not 
nearly all the billions of punched cards used each year are used 
in reporting, of course; nearly every organization which used 
the cards makes several kinds of use of them. Some uses of 
punched cards help compile information for major reports; 
other uses replace former hand-written reports or typed re- 
ports; many uses have no direct connection with reporting. A 
study of the influence of punched cards on one sales organiza- 
tion's reporting system appears on pp. 311-15. 

An analysis of the effect of punched cards on reporting at 
several different levels of industrial size might be helpful. If 
you go to work for a "giant" such as GM or GE you will prob- 
ably find that punched cards have taken over the place, re- 
placing nearly all the routine reports; most of the reporting is 
done in technical fields of research or near the top in man- 
agement. The "giants" have punched-card or tape-operated 
computers which can store complicated instructions or vast 
quantities of background information in their "memories" for 
use at lightning speed; with such machines a complete sales 
and production analysis of one day's work can be completed 
before the next day, and shifts in demand can be recognized 
and can affect production in a matter of hours. Such machines 
obviously revolutionize reporting. 

In a large firm employing several thousand men and women 
there is less likelihood that the revolution will have come. 

Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 





caboh & EQAMPmrnr 
cm® ■ 


u u U i 

(6 '6 '6 56 j '6 

U U 1? 1; '2 '.?. 

<6 56 56 5 6 5 6 5 6 5 5 5 6 56 56 

)« U i4 >4 '4 '4 

?6 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 


■Ft. », 7.°7. 7. 7s 7 8 78 7 8 7 8 7, 7 8 7 8 7, 

7 8 7g 7g 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 

i6 56 56 56 
7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 



S6 s 6 '6 
7 8 7 8 7 8 

Figure 32. Punched cards used to make reported information more readily 
accessible in a wide range of applications. ( By permission of Remington Rand, 
Incorporated. ) 

There will almost certainly be considerable use of punched 
cards as an aid to reporting and in replacement of routine re- 
ports, though it is likely that the punched cards will have more 
use in some divisions than in others. The smaller the size of 
the firm, the less likely it is to make full use of punched cards. 


Report Writing 

* ial A <Je Student Number 

jo 00000000.000 ooooooooooo oooooooooooo oooopooooo.oooooooooooooaojun'; , ' - - „ 

o I. .,..,..,„ I. - ; '»'- ' ■■tp;1s 

10 ' . ... 



j*««*"9n «* G «tA 0aA TroN - GRAaUflTi 5CHOOl 



<pvism | c,c | hob | so 1 siwism | N STUDENT NUMBER 


"[I DEPT r co i'« ! I SEC 1 Si'Ji'JH HON. 1 fui I WED. F~THUB. I FBI. T SAT. 

I | "I "i~~i r ■ — — - - - - - - 



IrwrMnl STUDENT HAHC I sen fcltjdflDV H|l=|5|=|s|soc b|s|»Gt|;| 

Figure 33. Punched cards used to make reported information more readily 
accessible— a range of uses within one university. (By permission of Inter- 
national Business Machines Corporation.) 

Some firms employing one or two thousand men and women 
are just beginning to shift from the old-style "full reports" to 
time-saving and money-saving fill-in-the-blank forms for their 
routine reporting jobs. As these firms grow and as the price of 
card systems falls they will shift again, this time to punched 
cards. In a small firm, employing about 100 or 200, it will prob- 
ably be a long time before punched cards can be used because 

Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 113 

of their cost— unless a large part of the firm's business is statis- 
tical or involves the correlation of information. A market re- 
search organization of twelve employees might find punched 
cards a good investment. 

The smaller the firm, the less well organized the reporting 
is likely to be— and of course when one man runs the whole 
show and has his accounts and sales and production all under 
his direct surveillance, he doesn't need reports at all. 

In twenty years the information-handling machines may well 
have changed reporting policy and practice much further, and 
in other ways— and the cards or tapes which feed them infor- 
mation may look very different from those shown in Figures 32 
and 33. No field today is moving ahead faster; what is pro- 
duced today is often obsolete tomorrow. 

Memoranda. A memorandum is a simplified kind of letter 
report— a note carrying information. What is the least possible 
identification that will make a report meaningful? 

Whom it is to. 

Whom it is from ( a name, and if the name is not known to the 

reader, something more— title, company ) . 
When it was sent. 
Possibly, what it is about. 

The Champion Paper and Fibre Company 



The memorandum provides for that least possible identifica- 
tion: To, From, Date, Subject. Dozens of attractive memoran- 
dum forms are available, custom-built to the individual needs 
of the firm or department; one such form is illustrated above. 
In a trend toward simplification, the memorandum report 
comes into its own— it saves time and yet is fully adequate for 

114 Report Writing 


HAND'O'GRAM the standard register company, dayton i. ohio 




□ EDUCATION other 






Figure 34. Form prepared by Standard Register Company for hand-written 
memoranda— a time-saving and cost-saving device for use when typed letters 
or reports are not considered necessary. Two Second sheets and two sheets of 
carbon paper are pre-inserted in this patented "Zipset." (By permission.) 

all but the most lengthy and involved reporting jobs. Memo- 
randum reports are appropriate 

If the report is short. ( I have seen very few memorandum re- 
ports over four pages long; they are nearly always one or 
two pages long. ) 

If there are few or no tables and graphs. 

If there is little or no need for documentation. 

Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 115 

If the prestige factor is absent ( that is, if the reporting situation 
calls for efficiency and informality rather than dignity and 
impressiveness ) . 

Actually most memorandum reports are written to someone 
in the same organization ( intra-company or internal reports), 
though there is a tendency for the convenient memorandum 
form to be used more and more for other reports ( inter-company 
or external or outside reports ) . 

Psychology is on the side of the memorandum report. The 
writer of reports and letters often puts off a job that must be 
given the full, formal treatment— but a memo is different. The 
approach to a memo is simple and direct, not studied and 
stilted. You just put down the information you have. It seems 
less like work; it raises no self-consciousness in the writer. The 
emphasis is obviously on the information, not on the way it is 
said. Of course this should be the emphasis in all reporting— 
but it is especially clear to the writer using the memo form. 

From the reader's viewpoint, also, the psychology of the 
memo report is good. The informality of the memo makes it 
sound more personal. A hand-written memo, for that matter, 
is still more personal— and besides is a quick and inexpensive 
way to transmit information. It is a saying in some firms that 
the higher up the ladder the executive is, the more hand- writ ten 
memos he writes. The Standard Register Company uses the 
Hand-O-Gram form on p. 114 for many of its brief reports 
within the company. "Why not?" they ask. 

Don't carry this line of reasoning too far and decide that 
anything goes in the memorandum report. There remains the 
need for clarity, for sticking to the subject, for putting the facts 
and ideas in a reasonable order, in other words, for using lan- 
guage intelligently. "Informal" doesn't mean "sloppy." 

Fig. 35 illustrates a carefully prepared memorandum report 
on a technical subject. ( See also pp. 3, 4, 77. ) 

In some firms the memorandum report is very widely used; 
95 per cent or more of all reports in the organization may be 
set up in that way. Mr. Gerald F. Propst of the Industrial Re- 
lations Division of Republic Steel Corporation reported to the 
1954 Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Business 
Writing Association that a great many of his firm's reports at 

116 Report Writing 

December 5, 1950 

TO: Mr. R. H. Heyer, Supervising Metallurgist 

Research Laboratories 

FROM: James C. Wilkins 

SUBJECT: A Method for Measuring Grain Size: 

Report on Trip to Butler to Demonstrate 
This Method 

On November 22 and 24, 1950, the Metallurgical Laboratories 
at the Butler Plant were visited for the purpose of showing 
the Metallurgical personnel the method of grain size 
determinations used by the Research Laboratories. 

The standard grain size charts for low carbon steel, 
austenitic stainless steel, wheel steel, and stabilized 
steel were shown to the Laboratory personnel. The grain 
size measuring instrument was demonstrated on both the 
Bausch & Lomb ILS metallograph in the General Metallurgy 
Laboratory and the B&L research metallograph in the Wheel 
Works Laboratory. No changes would have to be made in the 
present design of the grain size measuring instrument for 
use with the ILS metallograph. The only problem would be 
the darkening of the room in the area of the metallograph by 
a sliding curtain or by some other means. Mr. Hindman indi- 
cated that this problem would be worked out in some way. 

The Wheel Works Laboratory has the metallograph located in a 
room which can be darkened. It was found that it is a very 
simple matter to remove the binocular eyepiece from the B&L 
research metallograph and to insert the single tube eyepiece 
with the projection prism attached to it. However, the 
bracket for holding the disks would have to be somewhat dif- 
ferent from the present instrument used in the Research Lab- 
oratories. It would be a very simple operation to adapt the 
grain size measuring instrument to this model metallograph. 

The General Metallurgical Laboratory at Butler has a projec- 
tion prism, but the Wheel Works Laboratory does not (B&L 
catalogue No. 42-65-51 - cost approximately $15). 

Figure 35. Memorandum Report. (By permission of Armco Steel Cor- 
poration. ) 

Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 117 

Mr. R. H. Heyer 

Page 2 

December 5, 1950 

Considerable interest was expressed by the Butler personnel 
in adopting this method of grain size measurement. At the 
present time they are measuring grain size by observing their 
micros through the eyepiece and using the A.S.T.M. Standards 
as a comparison. This method is far from being as accurate 
and convenient as the projection method using Armco materials 
as a standard. The metallographic section of the Research 
Laboratories has found this method to be very satisfactory. 
Therefore, it is believed that this method should be made 
available to Armco Metallurgical Laboratories. 

£ "%Z6&^s 

James C. Wilkins 
Research Laboratories 


cc: R. S. Burns 
R. P. Hindman 

Figure 35— Concluded. 

supervisory levels are one or two pages long, and that two major 
problems with new employees are that their reports are 

Too long and wordy, running 10 or 12 pages instead of 1 or 2. 
Too short to do their job, a paragraph instead of a page. 

Two other major problems are ( 1 ) important points missed 
entirely, report containing nothing but subsidiary material; and 
( 2 ) important points present but smothered in detail. 

From Mr. Props t and about thirty other personnel men in a 
dozen states I gather the impression that the report-writing 
skills my students will find most in demand when they look 
for jobs are these: 

118 Report Writing 


Ability to organize facts and ideas. 

Ability to write brief (one- or two-page) memorandum-style 

Exercises and Problems 

1. Discuss the pro's and cons of the use of the full report in the 
sales division of Sandler Gear. If you were sales manager, how 
would you set up the reporting policy? 

2. Discuss the advantages of punched-card systems with an 
I.B.M. or Remington Rand salesman or user; report to the class. 
What reporting functions do you find punched-card machines used 
for in your area? 

3. Read about the newest computers and electronic brains in 
Fortune and other business magazines (the periodical indexes will 
help you find current articles). Report to the class on new uses 
related to reporting. 

4. Collect some forms (any kinds of forms used to transmit in- 
formation) from local firms and from your college. Discuss their 
makeup: are some better as forms—better planned, better for their 
purpose— than others? In each case, why is a form (rather than 
some other method of getting or transmitting information) used by 
the organization? (If you aren't sure, ask.) 

5. What do you think of hand- written memos in business? 
What do business executives in your town think? 

6. Write a memorandum in answer to one of these requests: 

( from a prof essor ) a) Please let me have your class schedule. 

h) Give me a memo to remind me that this absence was 

c) Please hand in a list of the English courses you have 
taken in college. 

d) Jot down for me the main reasons you are taking this 

(from a prospective e) Give me a brief resume of your work experience, 
employer) /) Please send me the names of three references who 

have known you for some time. 

Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda 119 

7. Write a memorandum report on one of these topics or on one 
assigned by your instructor: 

( for your hometown 

or college town ) a) Growth since 1900 census. 

(for your college) b) Enrollment trends over a five-year period. 

c) Where our students come from. 

d) Where our students go. 

e) Occupational range and distribution of our graduates 
in the last five classes. 

(for your professor 
about a longer 
report you have 

been assigned) f) Potential sources of information for my report. 
g) Progress to date on my report. 

Chapter 9 


This is a hard chapter to name. The chapter just be- 
fore it is "Forms, Punched Cards, Memoranda"; the chapter 
which comes after it is "The Formal Report." The most accu- 
rate title for this chapter would be "Everything Else." 

Even such loose and informal distinctions are misleading. I 
stopped in to see a friend of mine who is public relations direc- 
tor of one of Ohio's largest firms. "Ray," I said, "I'd like a 
couple of reports to use as models in a textbook: a short report 
and a long report." 

"How long and how short?" Ray asked. 

"Oh, you know, a long formal report and a short informal 

"I'm afraid I don't know," he said. "Your terms bother me. 
As you know, we use hundreds of reports from book length 
down to a few lines and the only distinction we make in termi- 
nology is that some are confidential and some are not. I imagine 
you have to break them down some way to handle them in 
class; to us, they're all just reports." 

"Sure," I said, "I look at them that way too. But I need an 
informal report four or five pages long and a formal report, oh, 
say, twenty pages long." 

"I'll see what I can do," he said. "But you tell those stu- 
dents we've got short formal reports and long informal reports 
and middle-sized reports and some I bet a quarter you couldn't 
tell what to call them." 

Informal report doesn't seem to be quite the term we need, 
but for lack of a better, we'll use it. You should keep in mind, 
however, that we are here dealing with the main body of reports 
used in the business and scientific world; that is, practical re- 
ports assigned for specific purposes and typically prepared 


The Informal Report 121 

quickly and submitted promptly. They are more elaborate 
than the report forms just discussed and less elaborate and philo- 
sophic but more utilitarian than the formal reports to be dis- 
cussed in the next chapter. 

Plan of the Informal Report. Short, middle-sized or long, 
the informal report adheres to no rigid pattern. What it in- 
cludes is based on the needs of the reader. It may conform 
in certain ways to the organization's written or unwritten re- 
porting standards: its title page, for example, or its letter of 
transmittal may follow company policy rather than the needs 
of the reader. But with few exceptions the plan of the in- 
formal report is based on the questions 

What does the reader need to know? 
How can the writer best give it to him? 

Here are some typical plans actually used in business, indus- 
trial, and professional reporting: 

Report introduced only by To, From, Subject, Date at top of 
page (this is the memorandum report discussed on p. 113). 

Memorandum letter of transmittal; report. 

Cover; letter of transmittal; report. 

Title page; letter of transmittal; report. 

Cover; title page; letter of transmittal; report. 

Title page; letter of transmittal; table of contents; report. 

Title page; letter of transmittal; report; appendix. 

Title page; letter of transmittal; introductory summary; report. 

Title page; letter of transmittal; report; conclusions and recom- 

The possible combinations seem unlimited. 

The Report from the Reader's Point of View. Since the plan 
of the report depends on the reader's needs we shall look at 
the ways various parts of a report help the reader at his end 
of the two-way street which is communication. 

Cover. The cover protects the report against smudging, 
tearing, loss of pages. It is easier for the reader to file, to 
handle, to carry. The organization's own prepared cover should 
be used, though sometimes covers are made from paper or 

122 Report Writing 

light flexible cardboard if the report is to be stapled instead 
of bound. Attractive covers for college reports can be pur- 
chased at the book store. If company policy permits, the cover 
should show the title of the report and possibly the name of 
the author. 

Title Page. The title page gives the reader at a glance the 
subject of the report, the name of its author, and the date it 
was written. With this information he can decide whether to 
read it and when to read it without being placed in the para- 
doxical position of having to read it to find out. The title page 
gives the reader's secretary all the information she needs for 
quick, accurate filing of the report and for adequate identifica- 
tion of it when she must go to the files to find it. In order to 
serve this function the title must be specific, even at the sacri- 
fice of conciseness. Various ways to set up title pages are 
shown on pp. 140, 160, and in Figures 36 and 37. 

Letter of Transmittal. The reader may expect the letter 
of transmittal to inform him of the writer's opinion of the re- 
port project, its limitations, and his method, to record what 
the writer has learned outside the narrow range of his topic 
while conducting his research, and to fit the report into proper 
perspective by relating it to its purpose and to its possible ap- 
plication. It is true that in some firms the letter of transmittal 
seems to be merely a routine form with no function whatso- 
ever; even in such firms, however, there is no rule against 
making the letter of transmittal meaningful and functional.* 

Table of Contents. The table of contents offers to the 
reader an advance outline of the content of the report which 
he can use to make a preliminary evaluation of the report and 
to plan his use of it. Since page numbers are shown for the 
items in the outline, the reader can, if he wishes, skip material 
that is familiar or irrelevant and turn directly to the pages on 
which he wishes to concentrate. The table of contents is also 
useful in helping the reader locate specific material in the re- 
port in re-reading or review (very few reports have indexes; 
the table of contents is assumed to do the index's job ) . 

* For full treatment of the letter of transmittal see Chapter 11. 

The Informal Report 123 






TOR STOCKPIfilNG 195L - 1952 

Prepared Byt B. 8. Hovatny 

Traffic Manager 

Figure 36. Title Page. ( By permission of Ford Motor Company. ) 

There is no one right way to set up a table of contents. 
Practice varies, as the examples on pp. viii and 162 indicate. 

Table of Figures. The table of figures gives the reader a 
preview of what diagrams, graphs, tables, and illustrations he 
may expect to find in the report; it also helps him locate any 

124 Report Writing 







Room 909, 209 West Seventh Street 
Cincinnati 2, Ohio 

Miss Catherine Lykins 
February 28, 1950 

Figure 37. Title Page. (By permission of American Telephone and Tele- 
graph Company. ) 

The Informal Report 125 

of them for review or reference. Examples of tables of figures 
appear on pp. 147 and 163. 

Introductory Summary. The introductory summary ( precis 
or abstract) offers the reader the essence of the report in a 
few words. "Here is what the whole report says, stripped of 
discussion and proof," the writer seems to say here. "If you 
want to take my word for it, and if the bare facts are all you 
need, you can quit right here. If you aren't interested in what 
my report says, you can quit right here. Otherwise, keep 
reading, and 111 start at the beginning and show you how I 
got this result." Many busy executives read only the intro- 
ductory summary of nine- tenths of the reports they receive. 

There can be no rule for the length of an introductory sum- 
mary, though its function is certainly handicapped if it takes 
up more than five per cent of the text of the report. An ex- 
tremely long report should not have more than a page or two 
of summary for a hundred pages of text; many short reports 
which could be read completely in two or three minutes have 
no introductory summary at all. A typical introductory sum- 
mary appears on p. 333. 

Introduction. The introduction fills in for the reader the 
background information that he will need in order to read and 
understand the report. The introduction may include 

Historical material 

A resume of previous experiments or studies of the problem. 

Investigation of direct or indirect causes of a situation which 
the report will analyze. 

A simple chronological account of the growth and develop- 
ment of the project or organization that is the subject of 
the report. 

Technical background material 

Information the reader needs before he is prepared to read 
and understand the technical part of the report. 

Orientation to the point of view of the report 

Introduction to the philosophy of the report or the philosophy 
of approach of the report (especially important if the ap- 
proach is new or unorthodox ) . 

126 Report Writing 

Body of the Report. The body of the report contains the 
information which the reader wanted in the first place when 
he assigned the report. This information is clearly, carefully, 
and fully set down with the readers needs foremost in mind. 
The use of headings and subheadings makes it easy for the 
reader to see how each part of the information is related to 
the whole. Sources of information are pointed out in text or 
footnotes so that the reader can see where each unit of infor- 
mation came from. Knowing the sources of the information, 
the reader can better evaluate its validity and can better follow 
up facts and ideas he would like to trace and investigate further. 

Conclusions and Recommendations. Many organizations 
use a report outline which includes at the end a heading "Con- 
clusions and Recommendations." This section, in effect, says 
to the reader "In view of the facts and evidence presented I 
find the situation to be thus and so. My recommendations for 
what to do about it are these: 1, 2, 3." This conclusions and 
recommendations formula leaves much to be desired in most 
reports. The conclusions and recommendations section is quite 
acceptable when it is appropriate; the trouble comes when it 
is used as a routine formula in all reports. Since most report- 
ing assignments do not ask for conclusions and recommenda- 
tions we do not recommend its use unless it is specifically 
assigned or unless it has become a tradition in your organization. 

Concluding Summary. If no recommendations are called 
for in the original report assignment and if enough points have 
been made in the report to justify drawing them together in 
review at the end, the logical way to close a report is with a 
concluding summary. Such a summary offers the reader a con- 
cise restatement of the main points of the report. It differs 
from the introductory summary in that it may refer to ex- 
amples, cases, or experiments given in the report; the intro- 
ductory summary may not, for the examples and cases obviously 
are not part of the reader's experience before he reads the re- 
port. Compare the concluding summary ("Conclusion") of 
Robert T. Hamlett's article, p. 358, with the same article's intro- 
ductory summary. 

Bibliography. If books, magazines, encyclopedias, company 
publications, or other printed sources were used in preparing 

The Informal Report 127 

the report, a list of them should be included.* Such a listing 
shows the reader how thoroughly the writer did his research 
and how up-to-date his material is; it also gives the reader a 
good start on where to go if he wants to carry the research fur- 
ther himself. Occasionally a report uses an annotated bibliog- 
raphy, one which makes helpful comments for the reader on 
each of the sources listed. 

Appendix. An appendix is the place to put things that go 
with the report but not in it. Here are some of the things that 
might be found in an appendix: 

balance sheet 



case studies 

sample forms 

sample questionnaires 

market research work sheet or tally sheet 

full experimental data 




flow charts 

architect's drawings 

planned layout drawings (before and after proposed changes) 

statistical tables 

ten-year financial history 

excerpts from testimony 

excerpts from source material on which report is based 

The advantage of the appendix to the reader is that he may 
read the report straight through without getting bogged down 
in exhibits and statistics; then if there is anything he wants to 
check, he knows exactly where to find it at the end of the report. 

There is no one right way to set up an appendix; however, 
generally it is preceded by a page marked "Appendix," and 
each separate section is numbered and accompanied by a self- 
explanatory caption. 

* See Chapter 10, pp. 154-57. 

128 Report Writing 

Glossary. If the report uses technical terms unfamiliar to 
the reader they are usually explained in context with footnotes; 
if there are a great many such terms, however, or if the writer 
is not sure whether the reader understands the terms, a glossary 
may be used. The glossary lists the terms in alphabetical order, 
giving a clear, brief, practical definition or explanation of each 
one, using diagrams when necessary. Following is an example 
of a short glossary.* 

Break: a brief ensemble pause by a jazz band so that one player can 

extemporize a solo for a few measures. 
Jam Session : a musical get-together in which all the playing is collectively 

Lead: melody, instrument that plays the melody in a band, solo chair of 

a section in a band. 
Tailgate: New Orleans style of trombone playing. 
Walking Bass: a bass part that moves up and down the chords. 

Index. Not one report in 10,000 is indexed, since the table 
of contents is nearly always adequate to do the work of the 
index. In a book-length report full of closely packed informa- 
tion, the usefulness of the index to the reader is obvious.** 

The Report Fits the Reader's Needs. Fortunately no in- 
formal report will ever need all or nearly all of the report sec- 
tions discussed in this chapter. There is no formula or rule to 
use in deciding what to include in your report. Plan your re- 
port, considering your reader and the reporting situation. What 
is needed? Include just that. Use as long a report and as many 
sections or parts as it takes to do the reporting job. 

Summary of New Developments and Trends in Industrial 
Reporting. The last few pages have described and discussed 
the parts that go together to make up a report— many more 
parts than any one report would be likely to use. The tend- 
ency in reporting in industry has been to use fewer and fewer 
parts, eliminating all those which were generally used because 

* From Milton Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, Really the Blues (New York: 
Random House, Inc., 1946). 

* * If you need to prepare such an index, you will find helpful material in 
Part One, Indexes and Indexing (pp. 21-72) by Robert L. Collison (New 
York: John de Graff, Inc., 1953). 

The Informal Report 129 

of custom or tradition and retaining in a specific report only 
those which fill a need in the specific reporting situation. The 
main long-range trend in industrial reporting in the twentieth 
century is a trend toward simplification: simplification in plan 
and structure, simplification of discussion of complex trends or 
analyses through use of visual aids (and simplification of the 
visual aids themselves), simplification in use of language, sim- 
plification in handling the completed report and making use 
of the information contained in it. 

Simplification as we have used the word here does not mean 
translating reports to the primer level, or "talking down" to the 
reader on the assumption that he has a twelve-year-old mind. 
It does mean starting all over with the concept of reporting, 
disregarding custom and building a report around what is 
needed. Which of the possible parts of a report will help carry 
facts and ideas to the reader in this specific reporting situation? 
What diagrams, pictures, graphs (if any) would best help carry 
the facts and ideas? How can these particular facts and ideas 
best be handled, filed, used (shall the information be typed 
on white paper, recorded on magnetic tape, photographed on 
microfilm, punched in cards)? And what of the language? Is 
the reader familiar with our technical terms, or should we 
substitute common terms for them? How can we use our lan- 
guage knowhow to help him establish the relationships we 
want him to establish? 

All these questions involve the reader, the reader's need for 
the facts and ideas in the report, and the facts and ideas 

The process of building a report around what is needed may 
be compared to Frank Lloyd Wright's concept of functional 
architecture, once considered impossible to put into practice but 
now basic in our modern society. We start not with the out- 
side of a house— a house like, say, the one across the street- 
building a framework according to tradition or fashion and 
chopping up the interior into boxes which the buyer must 
adapt his life to, since he has no choice; we start with what the 
homeowner plans to do with his life at home, and build around 
it. If we could visualize an open area, say a giant theater set, 
with large flat spaces and some levels higher and lower, we 
could have our homeowner-to-be pat his chairs and books and 

130 Report Writing 

M. P. REPORT NO. 13&A 

Project Ho. 1*2002 Date Written: 11/7/50 

Date Typed: H/8/50 

Title: Lab. Service to Process Sales 

Author: W. Brenton 

Period Covered: October 31 to November 3, 1950 

Work Done By: L. Hopkins, H. Brashear, Bob Wilier 

Reference: Letter from Percy Paetz to Ralph H. Rogers Jr. 
dated October 17, 1950. 

Percy Paetz submitted a small sample termed Czechoslovaklan 
clay for testing purposes. We reported this clay as being suitable for 
machine coating in M. P. Report No. 13^5, July 1^, 1950. In a 
discussion Mr. Paetz had at Frohnleiton, It came out that the sample 
of clay was most probably Austrian clay and was marked Czechoslovaklan 
clay by mistake. Consequently, Mr. Paetz requested them to send us 
a sample of the best Austrian coating clay for further tests. This 
clay was Identified as Austrian coating clay E.60. 

The K.60 clay showed 33. 9$ of the particles above 5 microns 
on check tests. Although the five micron fraction is above 20$ it 
probably would be worthwhile to make a trial on this grade. 

Figure 38. Research Report. (By permission of Champion Paper & Fibre 
Company. ) 

beds and stoves and bathing facilities wherever they worked in 
most conveniently, moving them about as use taught him their 
best arrangement, screening off those parts of the developing 
"house" that seemed to demand privacy and leaving the rest 
open. Once the interior of the "house" was fitted to the user's 

The Informal Report 131 

The K.60 clay sample wae In the form of large lumps. For the 
high speed agitator type dispersion it would be necessary to have the 
clay delivered in a pulverized form. The K.60 clay dispersed at 55f> 
solids with .2% - .kfi T.S.P.P. had the same viscosity as spray dried 
ET clay at 6C$ solids. 

The K.60 clay showed 6 points lower gloss, 1.3 points lower 
brightness after coating and calendering and a little lower printing 
quality than HT clay. 




Spray Dried 

HT Clay 


HT Clay 

5 Microns & Above 





2 Microns & Above 





•5 Microns & Above 





Below .5 Micron 





Block Brightness 





Assuming the Austrian and Czechoslovak! an clays are from the 
same source the difference in particle size reported may be due to variations 
in the clay, sampling or in the test itself. Unfortunately, the Czech clay 
sample was eo small we didn't have enough left to run a check particle 
size teet. 

With the exception of the particle size test other tests 
indicate the two clayB are the same or very similar. The block 
brightness of the two clays checked and they gave the same slurry 
viscosity when dispersed with T.S.P.P. both being heavier than spray 
dried HT clay at the same solids. A sheet coated with Czech clay, but 
uncalendered, saved from the July test was calendered and printed along 
with the Austrian clay sheets. Both clays gave the seme gloss - 60 
against 66 for HT clay - and the prints were little below HT clay 
in quality. 

s/ Walter Brenton 


Figure 38— Concluded. 

needs, he could frame it in with exterior walls if, and in what- 
ever way, shelter and safety made exterior walls desirable. 

Of the many tendencies toward simplification of industrial 
writing, perhaps the most publicized has been the "readability" 
movement. The Rudolf Flesch formula for measuring reading 
ease caught on just right somehow, to the surprise even of its 


Report Writing 



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The Informal Report 





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134 Report Writing 

The Champion Paper and Fibre Company 


Dwight J. Thomson, Vice-President date June 23, 1951). 


Cal Skillman, Public Relations 

Movie Attendance Report 
By States 

You may be interested in the attached tabulation of movie 
attendance listed according to our individual movies-- 
"Good Business," "Deep Roots," and "Paper Work" — and each 
of the kti states. 

I can point out nothing in this tabulation which is 
particularly outstanding unless it might be that through- 
out the entire United States all three of the movies are 
drawing at the maximum rate possible according to the 
number of prints that we have mace available in that area. 

Even in states in which we have never conducted an all-out 
sales campaign, the movies are drawing by virtue of Modern 
Talking Pictures 1 publicity. 


Figure 40. Public Relations Report. ( By permission of Champion Paper & 
Fibre Company.) 

author, who disclaims in How To Make Sense * much of what 
his followers claim for the Flesch method. Based on sound 
logic and good sense, the earlier Flesch books (particularly 
The Art of Plain Talk and The Art of Readable Writing) ad- 
vocated unpretentious and functional use of language and spent 

* New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., Inc., 1954. 

The Informal Report 





to March 31 

1951+ by 


:r work" 














































































Dis. of Col. 
















































































































































Figure 40— Continued. 

comparatively little time on the measurement of readability. 
Flesch's reasoning was clear: plain talk is the most functional 
kind. Do you, his reader, use plain talk? Let's measure your 
use of language and see . . . No, your readability index is too 
high. Now what can you do about it? And the main part of 
the book, the real meat, follows. In spite of the emphasis 
placed on it and the publicity it received, the readability for- 


Report Writing 

Page 2 



















































New Hamp. 









New Jersey 









New Mexico 









N. Carolina 









New York 









N. Dakota 













































Rhode Island 









S. Carolina 









S. Dakota 





















18 3 










































W. Virginia 









Figure 40— Continued. 

mula itself is of no more value than a thermometer is in heating 
a cold room. Its publicity helped direct a great deal of thought 
and attention toward language use: probably a desirable by- 
product of the readability craze. And those who read beyond 

The Informal Report 


Page 3 





















Modern Total 2,657 163,967 1+.581+ 301,1+1+5 3,363 217,073 10,601+ 682,1+85 

Carolina Off. 

Onio Office 

Texas Office 

General Office 


























2,891 189,536 4,873 328,968 3,613 239,31+1 11,377 757,81+5 

Figure 40— Concluded. 

the formulas, and who have also read How To Make Sense, have 
certainly learned a lot that is worth while from Flesch. Robert 
Gunning, Norman G. Shidle, and others have helped build the 
readability movement. 

138 Report Writing 

Along with the major tendency toward simplification of re- 
porting, industry shows a tendency to eliminate routine, factual, 
or statistical reports through automation. I once lived in an 
apartment building where the temperature in the rooms was 
controlled by reports: if it got too hot or too cold we would 
phone the custodian and report to him and he would try to do 
something about it. Such routine transmission of temperature 
information is generally handled nowadays by electrical circuits 
connecting thermostats and relays which control temperature 
with accuracy to a fraction of a degree. If we think of the elec- 
trical impulse which controls the furnace as information, as it 
is, of course, it is clear how many other transmissions of informa- 
tion which once would have required reporting are now handled 
by automation. Compare the oral reports of the Mississippi 
sounder, lowering his lead line and shouting, "Quarter past 
twain," with the radar and control panel of a modern jet plane. 
Compare the stockman's report that we are low on top-grain 
leather for our chair factory with modern automatic inventory 
control. At the same time automation is eliminating routine re- 
ports, however, it is making possible plant expansion which 
increases the need for reports at a higher level— reports on 
which decisions of long-run rather than short-run nature will 
be based. Although we can't speak for the distant future, at 
the present reports are growing more numerous and more sig- 
nificant near the top and are being superseded by machines 
near the bottom of the industrial structure. In ten years or in 
twenty, there will still probably be a need in industry for re- 
ports like those illustrated as Figs. 38, 39, 40, and 41. There 
will be new needs for types of reports probably not now known, 
and there will certainly be more machines to handle the col- 
lection and transmission of information, so that some of the 
reports we now consider indispensable will be superseded and 

If we hold a functional concept of reporting, rather than a 
traditional concept, we will be ready for any information prob- 
lems this new electronic age confronts us with. 

The Informal Report 139 

March 12, 1954 

From — Juvenal C. Schnorbus, Jr. 

To — Charles Burt, Vice-President In Charge of Sales 

Subject — Report on the strip mining industry of South- 
ern Indiana, Southern Illinois, and Eastern Missouri, 
based upon my recent visit to that area. 

Attached is my report on the current sales outlook for 
our company concerning the above mentioned area. This 
report is based on actual data gathered in the field, 
through interviews with the personnel of the customers 
concerned, and from the records of our sales department. 

When assigning this report to me, you suggested that I 
write a summary of the situation, including in it any 
ideas I might have regarding our steadily and rapidly 
declining sales in this area. This summary is included 
in my report. 

Knowing your interest in photographs of our products in 
actual use, I have included several in this report. 
Three of them are excellent examples of the terrific 
abrasive conditions so prominent and characteristic of 
this region. The photography is my own; so if the 
detail is of questionable quality, you may put the blame 
on an ardent, but woefully amateur photographer. 

This report would not have been made available without 
the co-operation of the personnel at the plants visited, 
and I am deeply indebted to Ed Brady, of our local sales 
force, and to the Markham Engineering Service, our 
agents in St. Louis, for their kind attention to me while 
I visited companies in their districts. I offer these 
gentlemen my deepest thanks and appreciation. 

Figure 41. Sales Engineering Report. (By permission of J. C. Schnorbus, 
Jr.) Company names have been changed; in actual use this report was instru- 
mental in changing company production policy. 

140 Report Writing 


By Juvenal C. Schnorbus, Jr. 
Sales Department 

Figure 41— Continued. 

The Informal Report 141 

?or many yeare, Sandler products were the only good heat-treated and car- 
burized products to he found in the strip mining industry. It is true that we 
always had competition from the original manufacturers of the shovel equipment, 
such as Marion and Bucyrus, hut their replacement parts were of a rather poor 
quality steel, and their deliveries were as long as ours. In those days, we 
could cram our twenty, thirty, and even forty week deliveries down our customer's 
throats and make them like it. 

But that situation no longer exists. Marion and Bucyrus hoth manufacture their 
replacement parts out of AISI-E 1*140 steel and heat treat to a good Brinell hard- 
ness range; also they stock 77 to 95$ of their replacement parts for immediate 
delivery. Derwent is our newest and most feared competitor. They use an 
excellent AISI kyX) steel for all their material. (We were not able to obtain 
this steel since the start of the Korean War in June, 1950. The 3 - 3-1/2 nickel 
it contains made it a very critical material and we could not get a priority to 
use it. But Derwent managed to get a priority.) 

Besides using a better steel than ours, Derwent boasts that they can offer any 
replacement part at a maximum nine weeks delivery, and they have been backing 
this boast by actual performance. They also guarantee their products the same 
way we guarantee ours, which puts them on an equal basis, and maybe even a little 
above our gearing. And further, a guarantee of products in the shovel industry 
is unusual. Other than the original manufacturers, we were the only company who 
would guarantee their product .until Derwent came along. 

To sum up, there is one thing we must give our salesmen and representatives to 
work with — better deliveries. And I think we can do it. We can stock more 
castings and forged blanks, and we can add more semi-finished items to our stock. 
It is not a choice of what we would like to do; we must decrease our delivery 
times or eliminate ourselves from the once very lucrative shovel gearing field. 

Juvenal C. Schnorbua, Jr. 
Sale 8 Department 

Bote - See comparative delivery chart, next page. 

Figure 41— Continued. 


Report Writing 


To further Illustrate the difficulties we are encountering in regards to extremely 
long deliveries, I have prepared the comparative delivery chart below. The parts 
were chosen at random from the various manufacturer's catalogs, and they are p«-cta 
which we have furnished many times to a variety of customers. 

Catalog No. 

Part Description 

Original Mfg. 


Our Own 

Marion 17794 

Shipper Shaft 

Marion - 5 wka 

4 - 6 wka 

29 - 32 wks 

Marion 17482 

Gear, 46 Teeth, 
1 CP, 8 Pace 

Marion ■ 1 wk 

1 wk 

16 - 20 wks 

Marion 17103 Bevel Sear, Split 
82 - 1 DP - 11 

Marion - 4 wks 

7 - 8 wks 34 - 35 wks 

Marion 14488 
Marion 14397 

Crawler Shaft 

Gear, Bevel Hypoid 
Ifr - 3-1/2 - 6 

Marion 19907 Pinion, 16 
Bucyrus 10002 Pinion, 15 

Marion - 

6 wks 

3 wks 

10 - 14 wks 

Marion - 



6 wks' 

Marion - 



6 wks' 

Bucyrus - 



4 wks 2 

Bucyrus - 



17 - 19 wks 

Bucyrus - 



8 wks 3 

Bucyrus - 



18 wks 

Bucyrus - 


5 wks 

18 wks 

Bucyrus - 

3 wks 

6 wks 

1 wk 4 


-2 wks 

7 wks 

44 - 46 wks- 


-2 wks 

7 wks 

44 - 46 wks- 

P & H - 

1 wk 

4 wks 

4 wks 2 

P & H - 

2 wks 

6 wka 

4 wks 2 

P & H - 

2 wks 

9 wks 

4 wks 2 

P & H - 

4 wks 

8 wks 

29 - 32 wks 

P & H - 

2 wks 

9 wks 

1 wk 4 

Bucyrus 10043 Gear, Bevel Hypoid 
67 - 2-1/2 - 5-1/2 

Bucyrus 10902 Shipper Shaft 

Bucyrus 14000 Pinion & Shaft 

Bucyrus 15083 Pinion & Shaft 

Bucyrus 14400 Sheave Wheel 

Northern 8450 Gear, 45-2-6 

Northern 8002 Gear, 57 - 3 - 4-1/2 

P & H 631 Pinion, 26-6-3 

P & H 486 Pinion, 24-2-5 

P & H 307 Gear. 100-3-6 

P & H 558 Shaft 

P & H 504 Sheave Wheel 

1 Material in semi-finished stock. Heat treat, finish turn and finish cut. 

2 Finish stock, re-bore and re-keyseat. 

3 Raw material on hand, thi3 delivery If order put on emergency list. 

4 Delivery based on receipt of raw material from Delta Steel Castings, 
Lockland, Ohio. Heat treatment, finish turn, and cable groove buffing 
are only necessary operations. A few of these castings on hand in our 
raw material warehouse. 

s Included in this delivery is the 18 weeks required by Northern to cut 
their special tooth shape. 

Note - Above deliveries from Schedule A - 54, issued 2-8-54. 

Figure 41— Continued. 

The Informal Report 



Location. - Terre Haute, Indiana 

Our Sales Representative - Edward Brady, Cincinnati Office 

Ownership A Personnel Data 

Owned by - Hampton Collieries, Incorporated 
Chief Engineer - Paul Carvel 
Maintenance Engineer - John Dickson 
Purchasing Agent - Miss Helen Campbell 

Major Equipment Inventory 
k Marion 240-B Shovels 
1 Bucyrus 1004 Shovel 

3 Northern Engineering Shovels, Miscellaneous Models 

Approximately 1-1/2 miles Conveyor Chain, gudgeon and bushing link type. 
Bote - Originally made by Link-Belt, our replacements used. 

Sales History 

Pirst order received - May, 1935 

Most recent order - Gearing, July 1950* Order now underway for 600 gudgeons. 
Inventory of parts sold - 284 gears and pinions, 12 track wheels, 2 brake wheels, 
402 miscellaneous, 3890 gudgeon and bushing parts. 

Miscellaneous Data 

Above plant operating at 70?6 normal capacity. Marion Manufacturing Company and 
Derwent replacement parts used on all above shovels. Chief Engineer likes our 
gearing, but the other personnel prefer to order parts from Derwent, which 
offers Immediate delivery on all parts, prices about 10/6 lower than ours, and 
a guarantee similar to the one we offer. 

Our gudgeon and bushing parts are also losing favor with this company, and the 
order for 600 now underway in our shop is to be their last until they complete 
a test to determine if our gudgeons are so superior to our competitors as to 
warrant the much higher price we demand. link-Belt Company, manufacturer of the 
original belting, offers replacements at a third of our price, made of better 
•steel and their deliveries seldom run more than two weeks, as compared to our 
present delivery of 18 weeks. 

Future Outlook This Customer 

Very poor. Looks as if our company Is entirely out of the picture as far as the 
shovel gearing is concerned, and we are rapidly losing ground in the gudgeon and 
bushing field. Our only solution Is better steel. Immediate or very Bhort deliv- 
ery, and lower prices. Chief Engineer Is sold on our product but he cannot order 
our material. He must deal with Derwent because his superiors like their delivery 
and steels and price better than ours. 

Figure 41— Continued. 

144 Report Writing 


Location - Brazil, Indiana 

Our galea Representative - Edward Brady, Cincinnati Office 

Ovnerahlp & Personnel Data 

Owned By - United States Steel Corporation 
Chief Engineer - Burton Fink 
Maintenance Engineer - Daniel Collins 
Purchasing Agent - John King 

Major Equipment Inventory 

12 Marlon W»-8C Shovels 
16 SueyruB 100^ Shovels 

2 Bucyrus 880-B Drag Line Crawler Shovels 

h Alliance Cranes, Various Models 

Sales History 

First order received - June, 1939. 

Most recent order - Gearing, June, 1950. Ho order since this tine. 

Inventory of parts sold - 1005 gears and pinions, 1009 miscellaneous- 

Miscellaneous Data 

Above plant operating at full capacity. Terrific abrasive conditions in this 
area. All replacement gearing furnished by original manufacturers of the shovels 
and by Derwent Company. This company kept records which definitely proved our 
material superior to competition, hut not superior enough to warrant our higher 
prices and longer delivery. 

Future Outlook This Customer 

This customer has long term contracts with the original builder of their shovel 
equipment to furnish replacement parts at a discount and with a maximum deliv- 
ery of six weeks. Any other gearing needs are referred to Derwent. Track and 
brake wheels are machined here, using forged blanks supplied by USS. Terrific 
abrasive conditions prevailing here are ripping their shovel gearing to pieces, 
and a month In service is considered excellent. Chief Engineer thinks our gearing 
would be best, as a few pieces of our bevel gearing, sheave wheels and shaft pin- 
ions are still in use. If abrasive conditions prevail, and gearing suppliers are 
not able to cope with them, there is a chance they will ask to be relieved from 
their present contracts rather than replace the defective material. Derwent has 
had to replace or adjust some six thousand dollars worth of material over the 
past three months, while Bucyrus and Marlon have run even higher. If this does 
happen, it would be a perfect opening for us, and I think a gift of several items 
of gearing, made of our Thermold J steel would be most welcome. The future 
outlook on sales to this company cannot be any worse. It has been al- 
most four years since their last order. Ed Brady has said he will continue to 
call on this customer in the hope something will break for us, and if it does* 
the Chief Engineer will probably give us his full support. 

Figure 41— Continued. 

The Informal Report 



Location - Hannibal, Missouri 

Our Sales Representative - Markham Engineering Service, St. Louis, Missouri 

Ownership A Personnel Data 

Owned By - Lone Star Cement Company, Incorporated 
Chief Engineer - Glen Cannon 
Maintenance Engineer - Dennis Johnson 
Purchasing Agent - Ed Landreth 

Major Equipment Inventory 
1 Erie 811 Dray Shovel 

1 Bucyrus W-C Drag Line Shovel 

7 Northern Engineering Shovels, Miscellaneous Models 

2 Simonds Crushing Machines 

Sales History 

First order received - June, 1950 

Most recent order - Gearing, July, 1952. Order for abrasive cones underway. 
Inventory of parts sold - 70 gears and pinions, 106 cones and other parts for 
their Simonds Crushers, 109 other miscellaneous parts* 

Miscellaneous Data 

Above plant operating at full capacity. All of their gearing replacements now 
being supplied by Derwent, who in addition to their immediate delivery 
can also furnish that special tooth shape necessary in the Northern shovels. 
Their big Erie Dray shovel and their Bucyrus Drag Line are still using a few of 
our bevel gears, purchased In June of 1950. Our shipper shafts used in the 
crawler part of the drag line are wearing well, and have outlasted all their 
competition thus far, and I was told we are in solid as far as our shafting 
goes, but that our delivery on other parts in general is Just too long. Our 
abrasive cones are wearing well in their crushers, but they are currently run- 
ning a test of cones purchased from Paulson Manufacturing Company, of West 
Alli8, Wisconsin. These cones are U5^ cheaper than ours and are delivered 
with two weeks notice; our delivery is 2k to 2d weeks. 

future Outlook This Customer 

Shovel gearing very poor. Derwent has this business pretty well sewed up, 
because of delivery and the fact they can cut that odd cycloidal-type tooth 
used by Northern Engineering. The outlook for our shovel shafting is excellent. 
So real competition at this time. Our cones and other crusher parts are per- 
forming well, but our long delivery is killing the business. If their test on 
those Paulson cones is successful, they are to try some of their other parts* 
and their quick delivery could well be our downfall. 

Figure 41— Continued. 

146 Report Writing 


Location - Granite City, Illinois 

Our Sale a Bepresentatlve - Markham Engineering Service, St. Louis, Missouri 

Ownership A Personnel Data 

Owned By - Louis Koehler & Associates 
Chief Engineer - David •Brian 
Maintenance Engineer - James Sullivan 
Purchasing Agent - Eachel Newman 

Major Equipment Inventory 

1 Bucyrus 880-B Drag Line Crawler Shovel 

2 Bucyrus WtO-C Drag line Crawler Shovels 

1 Marion k2 Shovel 

2 northern Engineering 1005 Shovels 
k Northern Engineering 1007 Shovels 

k Pratt & Harnischfeger Shovels, Miscellaneous Models 
2 Morgan Engineering Cranes, 15 and 30 Tons 
1 Whiting Corporation Crane, 25 Ton 

Sales History 

Elrst order received - May, 193^ 

Most recent order - Gearing, November, 1953» Crane wheels, order underway. 
Inventory of parts sold - 468 gears and pinionB, 108 track wheels, 24 brake 
wheels, 880 miscellaneous parts. 

Miscellaneous Data 

Above plant operating at full capacity. Products include everything from rock 
and cement to coal and granite. Their order for gearing, received by us in No- 
vember of last year, and still underway in our shop, is their last order of 
gearing from us. I was told by everyone at this plant that they liked all of 
our products very much, but that they could not tolerate our ridiculous de- 
livery and high prices, when Derwent offered immediate delivery and a fine 
quality of finished product at a lower price. The only thing they will continue 
to order from us, will be our track wheels, which we offer at an 8 to 10 weeks 
delivery. Our wheels so outlast our competition that they are willing to wait 
and pay more for ours. 

Future Outlook This Customer 

In general, the outlook is poor. Up until June of 1952, this customer was one 
of our best in the strip mining area. Derwent entered the picture at that 
time, and since then our sales have declined steadily and rapidly. This customer 
has said they like our material, but will not tolerate our higher price and 
elongated delivery when they can get almost the same quality goods, guaranteed, 
and with almost immediate delivery, from our competition. It would seem we 
can expect their track wheel business to continue, but in this respect, our 
wheels last such a long time that we can expect only an occasional order. Our 
shipper shafts are used in all their drag line shovels, but their warehouse is 
full of Derwent replacement shafts. Derwent gave them six shafts to run in 
competition with ours, and they performed well, so Illinite bought more, and 
will replace ours with these shafts as needed. This customer has Just bought 
the four Pratt & Harnischfeger shovels listed above, and this may well be our 
ray of hope with this company. P & H prefers that, next to their own, our gear- 
ing be used in their equipment, and they maintain a large stock of our gearing 
to give their customers Immediate delivery if they request our material. The 
people at Illinite said that they would order replacements from P & H, specifying 
our material, if they could get immediate delivery and still be covered by our 
guarantee. I assured them they would be covered by our guarantee. 

Figure 41— Continued 

The Informal Report 147 


PLATE 1 - Bucyrus 880-B Drag Line Crawler, Illinite Collieries 

PLATE 2 - Sandler Gearing In Operation Since 1950, Despite 
Terrific Abrasive Conditions. Norton Collieries. 

PLATE 3 - Cast Tooth Shrouded Pinions In Operation On Old Brie 
Dray Shovel. On Right Is Our Pinion, On Left Is One 
By Derwent. Gamargo Quarries. 

PLATE k - Cast Tooth Sprockets 4 Gear In Operation On Crawler 

Mechanism of Bucyrus 880-B Shovel. Gear Is Ours. Two 
Smaller Sprockets Are By Boston Gear Company, While 
The Large Sprocket Is Made By Derwent. Picture Taken 
At Norton Collieries. 

PLATE 5 - Conveyor Rollers On Boom Control Mechanism. Bucyrus 440-C 
Drag Line Crawler Shovel. Illlnite Collieries. 

PLATE 6 - Sandler Sheaves In Action On Marlon 2*»0-B Shovel, At 
Hampton Collieries. 

Note - These shea/ea have been in constant use since July, 
of 19^7« A performance record for this company. 

PLATE 7 - Sandler Screw Used On Conveying Equipment At Hampton 

Collieries. In Actual Service Since 19^3. Has Never Been 
Reconditioned. Note Small Spalls And Case Fractures. 
Note - Performance record for this company. 

PLATE 8 - Sales Engineer Ed Brady Investigates The Extremely Rich 
Coal Deposits of The Big Bend Collieries. 

Photographic Data 

Camera - Automatic Rolleiflex, with Tessar f3.5 lens 
Film - Eastman Kodak Super XX 

Figure 41— Concluded. 

148 Report Writing 

Exercises and Problems 

1. What is the difference between an informal report and a 
memorandum report? 

2. What is the difference between an introductory summary 
and a concluding summary? 

3. What is the difference between an introductory summary and 
an introduction? 

4. Assume you are writing a report on the reforestation of a 
specific tract of land. Where would you put the following material? 

A map of the area. 

History of tract before reforestation was begun. 

An acknowledgment of helpful advice from an official of the 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 
The titles of four books on reforestation which you studied but 

did not quote directly. 
The title of a book from which you quoted a paragraph. 
A photograph of a portion of the reforested area. 
A step-by-step account of the reforestation process in this 

particular tract. 
A list of the headings and subheadings used within the report 

The date the report was submitted. 
An explanation of the writer's inability to gain access to certain 


5. Write an informal report suggested by one of the following 

Sales presentation: men's dacron suits. 

Export sales organization of the John Deere Co. 

Current employment trends in the Carbondale area. 

Proposed recreation program for Beech-Nut Packing Co. 

Analysis of baked-goods market in the Aurora, Nebraska, area. 

A high-fidelity sound system for distribution through retail 

record stores. 
Talent scouting report submitted to the Cleveland Browns. 
The effects of changes in relative humidity on the removal of 

stretch and the tensile strength of X crepe paper. 
Laboratory control of the manufacturing processes: Schenley 

Distillers, Inc. 

The Informal Report 149 

Comparative analysis of four varieties of deck faucets. 

Why Geo. Eustis and Co. should have an office manual for 

Load test of shakeproof plastic shelf support $- 204-290500- 

Shall Mullane's Tearoom and Gift Shoppe add a line of greet- 
ing cards? 

Report on three-day time lapse between production operations. 

Report on 16-in. plain gap lathe made to suit 1955 design. 

Suggested improvements in automobile motor tune-up pro- 
cedure to cut mechanics' time. 

Appraisal report on property located at 7320 Hardy Boule- 

Comparative production costs, January, 1954— January, 1955. 

Report on proposed Park Avenue business site for Atlas 
Ribbon and Carbon Co. 

Need for a personnel department at The Cincinnati Tost. 

Shall the Eden Dairy change to the paper milk bottle? 

Need for a receptionist at Ajax Distributing Corp. 

The advisability of extending the O.K. Trucking Company's 
services to St. Louis, Missouri. 

The advisability of using automatic pencils in place of wooden 
lead pencils in order to decrease administrative expense. 

Fruit spoilage before and after the purchase of a J. S. Schmidt 
refrigerated display case. 

The work required in preparing material for shipment to our 
Venezuela Gulf Refining Co. 

Life test of National lock mechanism L-16040. 

Noise reduction in the production planning office. 

How illustrations can be used to increase the average reader- 
ship of food and grocery advertisements in newspapers. 

Proposed method of handling perpetual inventory information 
at Will Winnes Co., Inc. 

6. Write an informal report suggested by one of the topics on 
pp. 385-89. 

7. Write an informal report based on a comparative study of: 

Bond prices (figures taken from several issues of a news- 

Degrees and academic rank at your university (college cata- 

150 Report Writing 

Enrollment in various divisions of your university (university 

Growth in population of various cities in your area (census 

Services available in two cities (yellow pages of phone books). 

Industrial growth in two cities (Chamber of Commerce 

Opportunities in engineering for graduates of your college 
over several years (placement-office figures). 

Job opportunities in your area (want-ad section of news- 
papers ) . 

Real estate turnover in your city (real-estate section of news- 

Depreciation in automobiles (used-car advertising and auto 
dealers' blue book figures on original cost). 

Chapter 10 


As we saw in the last chapter, the informal report 
grows out of and adapts to a specific assignment: "Give me a 
report on this by Tuesday." It has a job to do; it discharges a 
function in industry or technology; it makes a contribution to 
the world's work. 

Where the informal report is based on need, the formal re- 
port is based on tradition. To be sure, the formal report may 
fill needs too; however, it does not adapt to those needs in its 
presentation, but follows the rigid pattern it inherits from the 
past. It grows out of independent research, class practice, or 
habits formed in independent research or class practice; its 
motivation is typically philosophical or scholarly. Often inde- 
pendent research is undertaken just for its results, with no 
specific audience in mind and no tangible needs to adapt to. 
The written account of such research seems as a matter of 
course to fall into the pattern of the formal report. If you have 
ever studied the documented research paper or "term paper" 
you have a good start on formal reports. 

Reporting and Research. Research which has no ax to grind 
—which is seeking not a short cut or a quick buck but knowl- 
edge—is often called pure research. Applied research is similar 
in means but different in goal; it aims to put the knowledge 
gained through pure research to work in a practical way. It is 
the kind of research used in preparing informal, utilitarian re- 
ports. The stronghold of pure research is the university, where 
men work part-time teaching the methods of research to others 
while they themselves are carrying on their attempts to move 
forward the frontiers of knowledge. About eight per cent of 
company-financed research is also pure research: "research 


152 Report Writing 

which has as its primary objective the development of basic 
information." * 

Nearly everyone seems to have the natural curiosity that 
pure research requires; what small child has not wanted to take 
the clock apart to see what makes it tick? A main job of the 
university is to encourage and stimulate that kind of curiosity, 
to give access to books and equipment which will help the 
student solve the problems his curiosity sets up, and to develop 
a sound research method. 

Perhaps the formal report is more a part of that research 
method than we have thought all these years. The academic 
trappings of the formal report are in a sense a kind of language 
of research; according to the metalinguists * * language shapes 
thought directly, since we think in language and can think only 
in terms of concepts and patterns of thought present in our 
language. It may be, then, that the research itself is shaped 
in part by its eventual method of presentation. 

Research materials and methodology for formal, scholarly 
reports do not differ sharply from those used for informal, prac- 
tical reports. Both types of reports utilize materials from ob- 
servation, interrogation, and library investigation; however, the 
library typically figures more centrally in research for formal 
reports. For information on research materials and techniques, 
review Chapter 2 and consult the "Selected Bibliography" on 
pp. 393-401. 

Origin and History of the Formal Report. Where does the 
formal report come from? Apparently it has been so long 
taken for granted that we seldom find the question raised. The 
pattern is obviously that of the scholarly dissertation: the long 
paper or book written by Ph.D. candidates and adapted else- 
where in academic work for masters' theses and seminar re- 
ports. There have been reports since the beginning of time (a 
classic favorite for completeness and conciseness is Caesar's 

* Howard S. Turner, "How Much Should a Company Spend on Research?" 
Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1954, p. 108. Mr. Turner concludes, "Re- 
search has become a main function in industry's existence and a dominant 
factor in its future." (P. 111.) 

**An article by Stuart Chase, "How Language Shapes Our Thoughts," 
Harpers Magazine, April, 1954, pp. 76-82, reviews some of the main points 
of the metalinguists and cites several authors who have written fuller studies 
in the field. 

The Formal Report 153 

"Veni, vidi, vici") but only in the last 100-150 years has there 
been anything like the scholarly report in full dissertation 

The German universities seem to have invented the disserta- 
tion. American graduate schools, which emulated Germanic 
scholarship, liked and kept the long formal papers. They are 
now used at all levels of research, inside the university and 
outside— passed along directly in teaching and indirectly in 

How Formal Reports Are Written. As our title for it sug- 
gests, the formal report is more formal in style than the informal, 
utilitarian ones. Typically it is written for rather well-educated 
readers, who may either be a general interest group of the 
public at large ( as for a biography or a new book on semantics ) , 
or a specialized interest group (such as the subscribers to the 
Publications of the Modern Language Association, the Journal 
of Applied Physics, or the Harvard Business Review). How- 
ever, it should not be too "stiff"; that is, the vocabulary should 
not be pedantic or ostentatious, and the organization should 
be clear as a whole and in all parts so that the reader will not 
waste time and energy in finding the information which he is 
seeking in the report. 

Research and writing procedures for formal reports include 
principally (1) industrious and skilful use of libraries, (2) out- 
lining for clear organization, (3) note-taking for completeness 
and accuracy, (4) documentation to guarantee authenticity, 
(5) clear writing, and (6) neat presentation. 

You have received instruction on library usage in Chapter 2, 
and you will find the "Selected Bibliography" very useful. A 
great many form manuals have been prepared to show the 
exact tradition of scientific and scholarly writing; some of the 
best of these are included in the first section of the Bibliog- 
raphy. Skilful library usage is largely a matter of using re- 
search tools efficiently. If a short cut has been prepared in the 
form of a bibliography, handbook, or manual, by all means use 
it; there is no merit in doing things the hard way. Also utilize 
what you have learned about efficient reading. The research 
writer is not a pedestrian sauntering through the woods, but 
an eager hunter, hot in pursuit of game. 

154 Report Writing 

The working outline is important. You will need to deter- 
mine early in your research both the dominating idea (thesis) 
of your problem and the major divisions into which it naturally 
falls; that is, the main topics of the outline. Your outline is the 
tangible form of your working plan, and should follow such a 
scheme of organization as chronological, comparative, enumera- 
tive, group relationship, or cause and effect. 

Note-taking is not a haphazard matter, either. Successful 
library research is especially dependent on a good system of 
note-taking. As you read your various source materials, you 
will be constantly on the alert for choice bits for quotation, 
significant facts or data which will support points you will want 
to make, or pertinent theories, ideas, or conclusions which will 
fit into your own discussion material. A good system of note- 
taking includes (1) use of a suitable unit (probably a 4X6- 
inch card or slip will prove best) for each and every note, 
(2) accurate reproduction of material; that is, exact quotation 
or faithful summary, ( 3 ) exact identification of sources, includ- 
ing page reference. 

Documentation, a rather small matter usually in informal 
reports, is comparatively important in the formal report. For- 
mal reports are essentially derivative. They depend on source 
materials in such a way that the writer must give credit: ( 1 ) in 
a general way by grouping his various sources in a bibliog- 
raphy, and (2) more specifically through supplying footnotes 
wherever he owes acknowledgment to a source or needs to ex- 
plain something not fully clear in his text. 

A bibliography is a source-materials list, arranged according 
to some established form or scheme, usually a simple alpha- 
betical listing. For a report, it comprises all the books, maga- 
zine articles, and other items that have been utilized, including 
not only those cited in footnotes but also any others which 
were in some way useful. These materials must be arranged 
alphabetically by authors' last names, or in the absence of an 
author, by the first important word ( excluding articles ) of the 
title. The bibliography reproduced as part of the specimen 
report in this chapter shows our recommended form for varied 
entries in a bibliography. It is a variation of the documentary 
system sometimes called the Chicago system, employed by The 
University of Chicago Press Manual of Stifle, The University of 

The Formal Report 155 

Chicago Manual for Writers of Dissertations, and the Williams- 
Stevenson Research Manual. Other manuals, especially those 
for scientific and "education" writing, recommend slightly 
different forms, the differences being mainly in punctuation. 
There is no clear superiority of one system over another, al- 
though the Chicago system seems to be gaining on the others. 
The system doesn't matter so much as careful consistency in 
whatever system is used. If your instructor prefers a system 
different from ours, follow his preference cheerfully— and con- 

Footnotes are the second important aspect of documenta- 
tion. A footnote is a device for giving credit where credit is 
due or supplying needed definitions or explanations without 
cluttering the text with distracting material. The majority of 
footnotes are citation footnotes; that is, they give the source 
of a quotation, fact, or idea. A citation footnote supplies, in 
compact form, as much information as a reader of the report 
would likely be interested in. For the first citation of any 
given source, your reader would want to know at least the name 
of the author, the title of the book or magazine article, and the 
page or pages being cited. Since formal reports have bibliog- 
raphies, there seems to be no point in including the publisher's 
name in a footnote, but your reader might want to know what 
city the book was published in or what magazine carried the 
article, and he quite likely would want the date. Primary, or 
first, footnotes for any given source therefore supply author, 
title, city or magazine, date, and page. When the same source 
is cited further on, the reader will not need all the information 
repeated; so shorter (secondary) forms have been adopted. 

The primary form for any given footnote is used only for the 
first citation of that source in a short report, or the first citation 
in a chapter of a long report. After that use ibid, for an im- 
mediately following footnote to the same source, or the author- 
title-page or author-page form where footnotes for other sources 
intervene. Number footnotes consecutively through short re- 
ports and through chapters of long reports. Note that the foot- 
notes in the body of this text include the publisher. This is 
standard practice where the published work does not include 
a formal bibliography of source materials. For further infor- 
mation on footnote form and usage, observe the footnotes in 

156 Report Writing 

the specimen report (Fig. 42) at the end of this chapter and 
consult the Williams-Stevenson Research Manual or some other 
manual recommended by your instructor. 

Closely related to note-taking and documentation is the han- 
dling of illustrative material, discussed above in Chapter 6. 
Pictorial material is used less in formal reports than in informal, 
technical reports, but both kinds employ it. If you need only 
a few graphs, maps, photostats, etc., you can introduce them by 
casual text reference and document them just as for footnotes. 
Where much illustrative material is used, however, it is better 
to use text references of Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc., and document each 
illustration separately by including the source in the descriptive 
note immediately beneath it. Wide tables or graphs may be 
placed the long way of the page, with the heading on the 
binding side and the credit line beneath. 

That the formal report should be clearly written and neatly 
presented could almost go without saying. The manuscript 
should be typed, double-spaced. Quotations longer than three 
lines should be single-spaced; single-spacing takes the place of 
quotation marks. Margins should be about one inch at top, 
bottom, and sides, which means about a half inch extra on 
the left side for binding. Indent five spaces at the begin- 
ning of each paragraph and footnote, but indent the beginning 
of a single-spaced quotation only when there was indention 
in the source. If you use as your backing sheet a piece of 
paper or thin cardboard about half an inch wider than typing 
paper, you can easily scale the lower part of it to enable you 
to stop at the right place, with or without footnotes. Num- 
ber prefatory material with small Roman numerals at the bot- 
tom of the page and text material in Arabic numerals in the 
upper right-hand corner. Any necessary erasures should be 
made so neatly they will not show; otherwise the page should 
be retyped. 

The final organization of a formal report as evidenced in its 
table of contents, is somewhat flexible, but a typical listing is 
the following: 


Table of Contents 

List of Figures (or Illustrations) 

The Formal Report 157 


I. (Include chapter title here.) 
Appendix or Appendixes 
Index (found only in some long reports) 

For the shorter reports not employing chapter divisions, the 
word "Body" replaces the chapter entry. 

The final step in preparing the completed report for handing 
in is to prepare an appropriate title page and bind the whole 
neatly and attractively, with a name-date-title label on the 
front cover. We will not try to tell you exactly what sort of 
binder to use, as your choice will be influenced by instructor 
preference and bookstore supply. In the final stages of report 
preparation, the key word is neatness. A good report deserves 
an attractive dress. 

Specimen Documentary Forms. 

Bibliographical entry for a book: 

Alford, Leon P. Principles of Industrial Management. New York: 
Ronald Press Company, 1951. 

Bibliographical entry for a magazine article: 

Chase, Stuart. "Korzybski and Semantics," The Saturday Review, 
XXXVII (June 19, 1954), 11-12; 46-48. 

Or Chase, Stuart, "Korzybski and Semantics," The Saturday Review, 
June 19, 1954, pp. 11-12; 46-48. 

Primary footnote for a book: 

1 Leon P. Alford, Principles of Industrial Management (New 
York, 1951), p. 134. 

Secondary footnote for a book: 

2 Alford, Principles of Industrial Management, p. 163. 

158 Report Writing 

Or 3 Alford, p. 163. 
Or 4 Ibid., p. 179. 

Primary footnote for a magazine article: 

1 Stuart Chase, "Korzybski and Semantics," The Saturday Review, 
XXXVII (June 19, 1954), 47. 

Or 2 Stuart Chase, "Korzybski and Semantics," The Saturday Review, 
June 19, 1954, p. 47. 

Secondary footnote for a magazine article: 

3 Chase, "Korzybski and Semantics," p. 46. 

Or 4 Chase, p. 46. 

Or 5 Ibid., p. 48. 

Primary footnote form for book in report not containing a 

1 Leon P. Alford, Principles of Industrial Management (New 
York: The Ronald Press Co., 1951), p. 134. 

Exercises and Problems 

1. Cecil B. Williams and Allan H. Stevenson in A Research 
Manual state that examples of research writing at all levels can be 
found in the library: "advanced apprentice (Master's theses); 
journeyman (many Ph.D. dissertations, some of the articles in 
scholarly journals); and master or expert (polished scholarly ar- 
ticles, standard biographies, and books by accomplished authorities 
in all fields)." In your college library find at least one example of 
each level of research writing. Read enough of each to compare 
it with the others; report to your class. 

2. As a specific project, investigate the origins of formal reporting 
or dissertation writing. (There is less information than might be 
expected on this interesting subject. ) 

3. Make a study of several formal reports written by students 
(perhaps your professor can put some on reserve or arrange a visit 
to his files). What flaws or weaknesses are most common? What 
serious flaws do you find? Write a brief memorandum report on the 
flaws you find in student formal reports. 

The Formal Report 159 

4. What changes would be necessary in the model report on 
pp. 139-147 or in the one. on pp. 342-349 to make an acceptable 
formal report of it? 

5. Prepare a rating chart for formal reports, listing the qualities 
you think a formal report should be graded or rated on, and weight- 
ing each quality with a number {% of 100) showing its relative 

6. Write a formal report based on one of the case studies in 
Section IV, pp. 361 ff. 

7. Write a formal report on a topic suggested by one of the 
actual report topics listed on pp. 390-92. 

8. Write a formal report exploring some new concept or chang- 
ing body of knowledge in your own field. Read some current maga- 
zines to discover what the new developments are: Fortune, Scien- 
tific Monthly, Iron Age, etc. 

9. Write a formal report suggested by one of the following actual 
report topics: 

Plan for a sporting goods store in a suburban shopping center. 

Top management organization of Thompson Products Corp. 

Legislation affecting the retail liquor dealer. 

Profit sharing and wage incentive plans. 

Wage incentive plans by merit rating. 

A wage incentive plan for Selden Fabricating Corp. 

An analysis of the results of United Nations action, 1953. 

Survey: reader preferences on pictures in advertising. 

The roller skating rink business in 1955. 

A public relations program for the secretaries of General Electric 

Survey: night opening in downtown department stores. 
Survey of department store managers: how a store in the suburbs 

can attract customers. 
Promotion methods for a pizza company. 
Two-year business forecast: Hubble Cural Tonic Co. 
Proposed change to make the Peaseway Home plan more flexible. 
Prospective locations for the Auto-Stoker Co. 
Merchandising of appliances in a buyer's market. 
Personnel counseling in four selected industrial firms. 
Future applications of machine accounting. 

160 Report Writing 



John Dark 

The University of Cincinnati 
January 12, 1955 

Figubje 42. A Brief Formal Report on the Information Theory. 

The Formal Report 161 


In preparing to write my report I have had the rare 
privilege of standing at the border of a vast, nearly 
unexplored body of knowledge and feeling the magnetic 
pull of new frontiers. Though my report attempts only 
to explain in simple language the basic terms of information 
theory and to describe with examples the method of measuring 
information, I have become a victim of the infectious 
enthusiasm for their subject of the authors of my source 
books; I know I won't be able to stop with this report. 
Perhaps I can use other aspects of information theory for 
further research projects; otherwise I'll continue on my 

The measurement of information makes possible the 
evaluation of the effectiveness of communication — and 
from the evaluation it is but a short step to scientifically- 
controlled improvement of communication, not only over wires 
or wave lengths but in letters and reports. Thus a field 
of knowledge which has always operated on intuition and 
hope comes under the method of science. 

I should mention one obstacle which has handicapped me 
in the preparation of this report: I have not had enough 
mathematics to understand all Mr. Shannon's formulas in 
The Mathematical Theory of Cnmimi^i cation . I hope this 
handicap will not be serious with the limited goal I have 
set for this report. 


Figure 42— Continued. 

162 Report Writing 


Preface ii 

Table of Illustrations iv 

I. Introduction 1 

II. Information 2 

III. The Unit of Information 5 

Bibliography 8 

Appendix 9 

Figure 42— Continued. 

The Formal Report 163 


Fig. 1. A Graphic Representation of the Flow of Information **■ 
Fig. 2. The Alphabet Encoded in Binary Numbers 6 

Figure 42— Continued. 

164 Report Writing 


The Information Theory has a very brief history: it has 
grown up since the beginning of World War II. Norbert 
Wiener, author of Cybernetics , an M. I. T. mathematician, 
was one of the theory's discoverers; Claude Shannon, a 
Bell Laboratories engineer, was the other. Cybernetics and 
Shannon's £ Mathematical Theory of Communication were both 
published in 19^8. Warren Weaver, Research Director of the 
Rockefeller Foundation, contributed certain related theories 
of his own on the implications of the new^discoveries, along 
with his interpretation of some of Dr. Shannon's technical 
papers, to the same 19*+8 volume which contained Shannon's 
major explanation of his theory. Since 19^8 a number of 
articles on Information Theory have appeared; a selected 
bibliography in Etc .. £ Review of General Semantics . Summer 
1953, PP. 316-317, shows 36 entries. 

Francis Bello, writing in Fortune , evaluates the Information 

Great scientific theories, like great symphonies and great 
novels, are among man's proudest ~ and rarest — creations. What 
sets the scientific theory apart from and, in a sense, above the 
other creations is that it may profoundly and rapidly alter man's 
view of his world. 

In this century man's views, not to say his life, have 
already been deeply altered by such scientific insights as relativity 

Figure 42— Continued. 

The Formal Report 165 

theory and quantum theory. Within the last five years a new 
theory has appeared that seems to bear some of the same 
hallmarks of greatness. The new theory, still almost unknown 
to the general public, goes under either of two names: 
communication theory or Information theory. Whether or not 
it will ultimately rank with the enduring great is a question 
now being resolved in a score of major laboratories here 
and abroad. 

The central teachings of the theory are directed at 
electrical engineers. It gives them, for the first time, a 
comprehensive understanding of their trade. It tells them 
how to measure the commodity they are called upon to transmit — 
the commodity called "information" •»- and how to measure the 
efficiency of their machinery for transmitting it. Thus the 
theory applies directly to telegraph, telephone, radio, 
television, and radar systems; to electronic computers and to 
automatic controls for factories as well as for weapons. 

It may be no exaggeration to say that man's progress In 
peace, and security in war, depend more on fruitful application 
of information theory than on physical demonstrations, either 
in bombs or in power plants, that Einstein's famous equation 
works. 1 


The aspect of Information Theory which this report will 
discuss is the method of measuring the amount of information 
in a message, a method developed through the theory and made 
possible only by it. Although this method is but an aspect of 
the theory as a whole, it Is the aspect which is arousing the 
most interest among specialists in a number of fields, 
particularly mathematical biology and semantics. 2 It is also 
the aspect of the theory which is likely to have the greatest 
effect on reporting theory and practice. 

1 Francis Bello, "The Information Theory," Fortune, XLVIII 
(December, 1953), 136. 

2 Anatol Rapoport, "What Is Information?" Etc .. X (Summer, 
1953), 2^8. 

Figure 42— Continued. 

166 Report Writing 

Information as we will discuss it in its meaning in 
Information Theory has nothing to do with meaning. A message 
may be coded or uncoded, plain language or nonsense; its 
information content can be measured as well one way as the 
other. As Warren Weaver puts it, "...this word information 
in communication theory relates not so much to what you do 
say, as to what you could say. That is, information is a 
measure of one's freedom of choice when one selects a message. •• 1 
If there is no freedom of choice, there is no information . A 
message without freedom of choice is entirely predictable: 
for example, these series — 


1 2 3 ^ 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 IV 15 16 17 18 19 20 

i ii iii iiii iiiii iiiiii iiiiiii iiiiiiii iiiiiiiii 

2 V 8 16 32 6*t 128 256 512 102W 20W8 W096 8192 1638^ 
Once the pattern of the message is clear to the reader, the 
transmission of the message becomes redundant or unnecessary. 
The more pattern or predictability the message has, the more 
redundancy and the less information is being transmitted. 
The less pattern or predictability, conversely, the more 
information. The maximum flow of information comes when the 
signals in the message are arranged quite at random and occur 
at about the same frequency. Fig. 1 shows the flow of 
information in three sample messages. 

* Warren Weaver, "Recent Contributions to the Mathematical 
Theory of Communication," in Claude E. Shannon and Warren 
Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication (Urbana: The 
University of Illinois Press, 1959*), p. 100. 

Figure 42— Continued. 

The Formal Report 167 


/I A ft (UJV 

In transmission, K receives no pulse and Y. receives one pulse 
of electricity. Only when a X is se nt is there a flow of 
information. 5 units of information are sent in Message 1. 

Message 2: 82 81 81 80 78 76 "fa 72 73 72 70 73 73 70 72 7 1 * 75 
K J 

In transmission, all temperatures over 70 receive no pulse and 
all temperatures 70 or below receive one pulse of electricity. 
One pulse of electricity turns on the automatic oil furnace. 
2 units of information are sent in Message 2. 


1 A (I A 

In transmission, all artillery shells that are on the target 
receive no pulse and all artillery shells that are not on the 
target receive one. pulse of electricity. One pulse of 
electricity records a "miss" on the firing record. 8 units of 
Information are sent in Message 3. 

Fig. 1. 

Figure 42— Continued. 

168 Report Writing 


Weiner and Shannon define the unit of Information as 
that which makes a decision between two equally probable 
events . l The unit was named the bit at the suggestion of 
John W. Tukey; bit stands for binary digits . 2 the simplest 
possible symbols to use in coding information for transmission. 
The messages in Fig. 1 are the simplest possible kind of 
messages, involving only two possibilities: yes or no, 
on or off, pulse or no pulse. Such messages can be coded 
by bindary code groups only one bit long — can stand 
for no pulse and 1 can stand for pulse, so that Message 2 
would read 00000000001001000. 

To handle messages Involving more than two possibilities, 
binary code groups two or more bits long are required. The 
code group two bits long offers four possible alternatives, 
00, 01, 10, 11 — and these four can stand for A, B, C, D; 
yes, no, maybe, no answer; 5, 6, 7» 8; or any other group 
of four possible components of a message. 

The binary code group three bits long offers eight 
possible alternatives, 000, 001, 010, Oil, 100, 101, 110, and 111. 
These eight can stand for any eight possible components of 
a message. In order to encode the alphabet (26 possible 
alternatives) binary numbers five bits long are required. 
Fig. 2 shows the alphabet encoded In binary numbers. 

^■Bello, "The Information Theory," p. lVO. 

2 Binary means two digits, and 1. We are more accustomed 
to the decimal system: decimal means ten digits, 0, 1, 2, 3, V, 5» 
6, 7» 8, and 9. The first ten numbers in binary notation are 0, 1, 
10, 11, 100, 101, 110, 111, 1000, 1001. 

Figure 42— Continued. 

The Formal Report 






N 10000 

B 00001 


C 00010 

P 10010 

D 00011 

Q 10100 

E 00100 

R 10101 

F 00110 

S 10110 

G 00111 

T 11000 

H 01000 

U 11001 

I 01010 

V 11010 

J 01011 

W 11100 

K 01100 

X 11101 


y lino 

M 01111 

Z 11111 



Figure 42— Continued. 

170 Report Writing 

Actually not all the binary code groups five bits long 
are required to encode the alphabet; 32 are available and 
only 26 are used. The average number of bits required per 
letter, therefore, is about W.7. 

In summary, 

a decision between two equally 

probable events requires 1 bit of information 

while a decision among 26 

equally probable events requires h.7 bits of information 

Each additional bit of information doubles the number of 
possibilities; if the game of Twenty Questions were assumed to 
supply one bit of information for each question, the 20 bits 
should identify 2 20 possible objects: over a million. 1 

Though the measurement of Information required to permit 
a decision among events of unequal probability grows extremely 
complex and is outside the strict scope of this report, one 
of Dr. Shannon's experimental studies on the amount of 
information contained in ordinary English sentences (which of 
course involve unequal probability of letters and words) is 
described briefly in the Appendix because of its startling 
Implications for reporting and other communications. 

1 Jbld., p. 11*9 n. 

Figure 42— Continued. 

The Formal Report 171 


Bello, Francis. "The Information Theory." Fortune . XLVIII 
(December, 1953), 136-158. 

Berkeley, Edmund C. Giant Brains.. Hew York: John Wiley & 
Sons, Inc., 19^9. 

King, Gilbert W. "Information." Scientific American . CLXXXVII 
(September, 1952), 132-l>+8. 

Rapoport, Anatol. "What Is Information?" Etc.: A Review of 
General Semantics . X (Summer 1953), 2^7-260. 

Shannon, Claude E. , and Warren Weaver. The Mathematical 

Theory of Communication . Urbana: The University of Illinois 

Figure 42— Continued. 

172 Report Writing 




Theoretically, k.7 bits of information are required to 
encode each letter of the alphabet. In order to test plain 
English sentences to see how many bits of information are 
required to make correct decisions about the messages they 
contain, Dr. Shannon devised an experiment: 

In one game he would pick a passage at random, from a book, 
and ask someone to guess the letters, one by one. He would tell 
the subject only if he were wrong, and the subject would continue 
until he finally guessed the right letter (or space). Shannon 
quickly discovered that the average person requires substantially 
fewer than 3«3 guesses to identify the correct letter in ordinary 
text. The relation between guesses and bits of information 
should become clearer in what follows. 

One of Shannon's favorite passages for this type of game 
was " There is no reverse on a motorcycle a friend of mine found this 
out rather dramatically the other day ." In this passage there are 
102 letters and spaces, including a final space after "day." Going 
through the passage letter by letter, one of Shannon's subjects 
guessed right on his first guess 79 times, and correctly identified 
all 102 letters and spaces with only 198 guesses, or less than two 
guesses per letter or space. 

After mathematical analysis of many such experiments Shannon 
concluded that in ordinary literary English the long-range 
statistical effects reduce the information content to about 
one bit per letter . That is to say, if one sees the first 50 
or 100 letters of a message, he can be reasonably certain, on the 
average, that the next following letter (which he hasn't seen) 
will be one of only two equally probable letters. To remove this 
much uncertainty requires, by definition, only one bit of information. 

Shannon's calculation... has this surprising implication. It 
says that with proper encoding it should be possible to translate 
any page of ordinary English into a succession of binary digits, 
and 1, so that there are no more digits than there were letters 
in the original text. In other words, twenty-four of the twenty-six 
letters of the alphabet are superfluous. So far as printed English 
is concerned, this is the goal that information theory establishes 
for the communication engineer. * 

(December, 1953) » P. 1^9. 

Figure 42— Concluded. 

Chapter 11 


It's a good feeling to finish a report. You've gathered 
the material, put it together, set it up in report form, proofread 
it to make sure it's in good shape. It's your report, and you 
have some opinions about it and the work it came out of and 
possibly the work that may grow out of it. You can't put these 
opinions in the report; it is supposed to stick directly to the 
assigned subject. But if you were to go into the boss' office to 
hand in your report, you wouldn't just lay it on his desk, give 
a hand salute and leave. You would stop a minute and say, 
"On this report, Tom, there are a couple of things that bother 
me and I want you to know about. I wouldn't want you to 
depend too much on the last part of the report, the one about 
the market shift. Just this morning I ran into some figures 
that seem to point in the other direction; since the report is 
due now, I couldn't do it over. Another thing— I wouldn't want 
to take credit for that big chart at the end; Jim Donovan drew 
that for me on his own time. I guess that's all, unless you have 
something else you want me to do on this." 

Whatever comments you have to make about your report, 
whether you will have a chance to speak to the boss about it 
or not, should go into your letter of transmittal or preface. 

Functions of the Letter of Transmittal. The first function 
of a letter of transmittal is to make a record. The subject of 
the report, the date it was submitted, and all your comments 
on it will, through the miracle of carbon paper, go into both 
your file and the file of the person to whom you submit the 
report. To make full use of this function, the report-writer 
should think of what is needed in the record to accompany his 


174 Report Writing 

Inter Office Correspondence 

Date: March 1, 19^9 

From: Brion C. Sawyer 

To: Leslie Webb 

Subject: Material Handling Improvement 

I am submitting this report as you requested 
last Monday, February 28. 

I made the changes embodied in this report with 
due respect to labor, time, and monetary savings. 

When I decided to make the change I took into 
consideration the slope and condition of the floors, 
also cost to realign and plate them with lA" sheet 
steel of a suitable safety design. The expenditure 
for such a program would have been prohibitive. 

Therefore 1 installed the monorail system, a 
vast improvement over the old system, for transporting 
material from the initial carrier to storage points 
in the factory. 


Figure 43. Letter of Transmittal to Accompany a Report. (By permission 
of The Hunnewell Soap Co.) 

Letter of Transmittal 175 

Federal Reserve Bank 

of cleveland 


to: Mr. C. Harrell, Assistant Cashier date: March 1, 19i*9 
Cincinnati Branch 

from: R. P. Oettinger, Assistant Manager of subject: Report on the 
Building, Cincinnati Branch Proposed File 

System for the 
General Archives 

The following report containing "the results of a 
survey of the present and proposed systems in the 
General Archives is submitted for your approval. 

The facts presented, regarding the present system, 
were obtained by an actual count and inspection of 
each storage unit. Mr. Molique, Lianager of the 
Check Collection Department, was consulted as to 
the future requirements for additional storage units, 
to accommodate the increased volume of I.B.M. tapes, 
follovdng the installation of Ul new proof machines. 

Should the recommended system be adopted, it will 
be necessary to purchase 827 legal size Safe-T-Stak 
Files for immediate use. The acquisition of this 
equipment will result in a more efficient and ade- 
quate method of retaining records in the General 
Archives • 

Assistant Manager of Building 

Figure 44. Letter of Transmittal to Accompany a Report. (By permission 
of Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. ) 

176 Report Writing 



MEMORANDUM TO Police Chief Stanley R. Schrotel 

City of Cincinnati 

1 May 195 1 * 


This report was made possible through the helpfulness 
and cooperation of Colonel Schrotel, Captain Sandman, 
Captain Clift, Sergeant Reis, and officers and patrol- 
men throughout the department. 

I did not begin with the idea in mind of presenting 
a detailed analysis of all phases of the departments 
public relations; I planned to make a general survey, 
find the trouble spots if any, and concentrate on 
them for the main substance of my report. I have 
carried out that plan. 

I am available at the department's pleasure to discuss 
my report or to assist with any public relations 
problems which may come up in the future. 

John Ball 


Figure 45. Letter of Transmittal to Accompany an Independent Consultant's 

Letter of Transmittal 177 






Gentlemen: We, the members of the British Iron and Steel Pro- 
ductivity team, present our unanimous Report arising out of 
the visit we made to the United States of America in May and 
June, 1951, under the auspices of the Anglo-American Council 
on Productivity and the Technical Assistance Program of 
E. C. A. 

In preparing this Report we have been conscious of the 
many difficulties, not the least being that of generalising 
about a country where "the only safe generalisation is that 
it is a land of contrasts" . In the time available only a 
small part of America's enormous iron and steel industry 
could be visited and studied. When we were in the United 
States industrial activity, stimulated by the defence pro- 
gramme, was at a high level. Nevertheless, we feel that much 
of what we have to say is valid as a true impression of 
longer-term conditions there. Furthermore, quite apart from 
the knowledge which we gained of the American industry, the 
visit has enabled us to look at and analyse our own steel 
industry from a new viewpoint. 

For us it has been a very stimulating and valuable experi- 
ence, partly because of the friendly welcome given to us by 
our colleagues in America, and partly because we tasted some 
of the enthusiasm of that pioneer people as they go on build- 
ing an even greater and richer country. In view of the close 
links which have existed for so many years between our re- 
spective iron and steel industries we did not expect any 
major surprises, at least in the technical field. At the 
same time no comprehensive analysis of relative productivi- 
ties in the two industries had previously been attempted, 
and, as was to be hoped, the visit revealed many interesting 

Figure 46. Letter of Transmittal Prepared and Signed by Sixteen British 
Iron and Steel Trades Executives and Engineers Who Visited the United States 
to Study American Steel-Production Methods. 

This letter is printed here to show the essential similarity of reporting prob- 
lems on an international scale; except for minor differences in form and the 
British spellings (generalisation, programme, analyse) this letter of transmittal 
is quite similar to ours in America. 

178 Report Writing 

points of difference in methods of production and 

We have drawn freely on the views and advice of many 
friends, but are alone responsible for the contents of our 
Report. Its object is simple and clear: to help the British 
iron and steel industry and the people who serve in it to 
raise productivity, and to enable them to play an even larger 
and stronger part in the national economy. This cannot be 
done without self-criticism, stated or implied, but we trust 
that no one will mis-use such criticism, which should be 
considered as a stimulus to further achievement. 

[Sixteen signatures followed here] 

Figure 46— Concluded. 

Another function of the letter of transmittal is the encourage- 
ment of the transmission of useful comments, suggestions, and 
proposals for future research projects. When a company puts 
an intelligent and perceptive man to work on a specialized 
project, it is surprising if he does not learn something outside 
the range of that project while he is working on it. The exist- 
ence of the letter of transmittal as an informal communication 
channel encourages the passing along of useful information and 
ideas to the company even though they are not related enough 
to the topic to be included in the report. It would have been 
a pity, for example, if on the day the mixer ran too long at 
Procter and Gamble no one had reported that the "spoiled" 
batch of soap would float. 

An important function of the letter of transmittal, as of any 
letter, is its public relations function.* A friendly, thorough, 
helpful letter is good for personal public relations as well as for 
company public relations; the fact that most reports go to 
someone within the same company should not cause the report 
writer to produce a careless or routine letter of transmittal. 
A cooperative attitude and a good long-range perspective and 
understanding of his job, shown in the letter of transmittal of 
a report reaching top management, can do the report-writer 

* See Cecil B. Williams and John Ball, Effective Business Writing (2d ed.; 
New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1953), chap. x. 


Western Sales 
G. T. Bedford 
A. L. Feild 
1 Extra Copy 


March 2, 1951* 

To: Mr. George Goller, Supervising Metallurgist 
Research Laboratories, Rustless Division 

From: P. E. Ramseyer, Development Engineer 

Subject: Central Steel & Wire Co. 
Chicago 80, Illinois 

Type UhOk Stainless Steel 

Attached is a letter we received from Mr. L. T. Johnston, Jr. 
through our Chicago Office requesting information concerning 
Type UliOA stainless. 

Will you please review this letter and let us have your com- 
ments to the questions outlined. We would appreciate your 
comments as soon as possible so that we can determine whether 
Type LiiiOA might be suitable for the application. 


Figure 47. Letter of Authorization. (By permission of Armco Steel Cor- 
poration. ) 

The letter of authorization for a report, assigning the project and often laying 
out the method of approach, was once as a matter of custom submitted with the 
report. This practice is now nearly extinct; if a letter of authorization is received 
its suggestions are followed, of course (such a letter may be a valuable aid to 
the report-writer in clarifying what is wanted), but the letter itself is then 
filed in the report-writer's files rather than sent back to the person making the 
assignment. To check the frequency of use of the letter of authorization as a 
part of the completed report, we studied over 3000 reports and found only 
one which included a letter of authorization. 

180 Report Writing 

more good in a practical way than dozens of letters sent outside 
the company. Even if company policy requires a formal third- 
person report, there is no conceivable justification for writing 
a formal third-person letter of transmittal. Your letter should 
sound like you, should have the "you attitude," * and should 
avoid the stilted jargon of the nineteenth century. 

Memorandum, Letter, or Preface. The form of the letter 
of transmittal depends on the needs of the communication situ- 
ation: what the reader needs to know, how much the writer 
has to say, the length and nature of the report the letter is to 
accompany. A brief memorandum report needs no separate 
letter of transmittal; it may incorporate prefatory material in its 
opening lines. However, some writers prefer to make a sepa- 
rate letter of transmittal, even on very short reports, particu- 
larly if the reports are primarily statistical (I once saw a 
two-page letter of transmittal used, with complete justification, 
to accompany a half -page statistical report ) . Very long reports 
—book length or thesis length— generally use a preface to ac- 
complish the purpose of the letter of transmittal. Between the 
very short and the very long fall the great majority of reports. 
Of these, the ones going outside the company generally use 
standard letter forms for the letter of transmittal and the ones 
going to another part of the company use interoffice correspond- 
ence or memorandum forms. 

Memorandum Form. There are a wide variety of memo- 
randum forms, but all include much the same information. 
Typical forms are shown on pp. 113-17. Type your memoran- 
dum with good wide margins, single-space within paragraphs, 
and double-space between paragraphs. Sign your memoran- 
dum in ink. A signature identification is not needed since the 
writer's name is typed after "From" at the top of the report. 
Don't clutter up your memorandum with such unnecessary fea- 
tures as "Dear Sir" and "Sincerely yours"; the great advantage 
of the memorandum form is its simplicity, its easy convenience. 

Interoffice Correspondence Forms. A few firms distin- 
guish between memorandum and interoffice correspondence 

* "You attitude": an approach to letter writing which is based on what the 
reader needs to know and which tries to look at every problem from the reader's 
perspective. See Williams and Ball, Effective Business Writing, pp. 65 ff. 

Letter of Transmittal 181 

forms; the inter office form is sometimes rather complex with a 
number of blanks keyed to the special requirements of the 
company's filing system. The simplicity of the memorandum 
is lost; in fact, some interoffice forms are much more difficult to 
prepare than ordinary letters and require special attention in 
the company's training program. If your company has such 
forms you will be trained to use them; there is no need to dis- 
cuss them further here. 

Letter Forms. In the language of the trade, letters which\ 
go from one company to another company, to a customer, or to J 
other individuals are outside letters. Though a report going 
outside the company may be accompanied by a memorandum 
letter of transmittal, a firm often prefers to use its standard 
company letterhead and letter form. The letter should be 
single-spaced, with wide margins, and should be just about 
centered on the page. If an individual is addressed, the saluta- 
tion should be singular ( Dear Mr. Jones : or Dear Ralph, or rather 
rarely these days, Dear Sir:); if a company is addressed, the 
salutation should be plural ( Gentlemen: ) . Sincerely yours, and 
Cordially yours, have gained ground in the past five years over 
Yours very truly, and Very truly yours. Most of the conventions 
of letter form are based on a combination of custom and con- 
venience, and since opinions on both differ, there are two or 
more "right" ways to set up almost every part of the letter, 
from the date (1 March 1955 or March 1, 1955) to the post- 
script (P.S. or p.s.). The gradual simplification of letter form 
over the past fifty years seems destined to bring into full 
favor in the future a form like the NOMA simplified letter on 
p. 223.* 

Preface. A preface is a kind of letter of transmittal bound 
into a mass-produced report or into a long report destined to be 
read by more than one reader.* * The preface is similar in con- 
tent to the letter of transmittal (though, as I have indicated, 
it is generally directed to a somewhat larger audience ) , except 

* For a detailed analysis of letter form see Williams and Ball, Effective 
Business Writing, chap. ii. 

* * For an example see the preface at the beginning of this textbook. To 
simplify the subject, the standard content of a preface is often said to come 
under these three headings : ( 1 ) the "author's excuse for his book," ( 2 ) materials 
and methodology, (3) acknowledgments. 


182 Report Writing 

that its form is much modified. It is introduced only by its head- 
ing—Preface or words with similar meaning such as A Note to 
the Reader— and it closes with the typed or printed name or 
initials of the writer ( at the right ) and usually the date ( at the 
left). The function of the preface should be clearly distin- 
guished from that of the introduction; the preface does not 
contain background material on the content of the report but 
only the type of information described in the following para- 

Content. The letter of transmittal or preface may contain 
any of these items or several ( but not all ) of them : 

Identification of the assignment or authorization for the report. 

Explanation of the purpose of the report. ^ 

Explanation of the limits originally set for the study. 

Pointing out of your bias or personal prejudice if there is a 
chance that it would have affected the report. 

Discussion of your philosophy of science (or whatever field is 
being reported on) if it would help in the understanding of 
your method and your results. 

Pointing out of a significant point or trend that might otherwise 
be missed, of a key chart or graph (especially if it is buried 
in the appendix), or of related reading in journals or peri- 
odicals. £ 

Explanation of peculiarities, seeming contradictions, or possibly 
ambiguous sections of the report. (Are you sure you can't 
fix them instead of just talking about them? ) 

Explanation of the method of research uspd in getting material. 

Explanation of changes in method of research from those as- 

Discussion of the limitations that showed up while the study 
was in progress. The last-named is an extremely important 
point, for it vitally affects the validity of decisions the reader 
of the report will make. If the unknown, the unavailable, the 
incomplete, or the doubtful necessarily enter into your report, 
show how, clearly and frankly. 

Mention of unexpected difficulty in obtaining information 
through lack of cooperation within the organization or out- 
side it. 

Evaluation of method of research that you used. 


Letter of Transmittal 183 

Explanation of method of organization: 

Acknowledgment of helpfulness and actual contributions to 
the report by others. 

Listing of persons who expressed interest in the report and 
wished to be kept informed of its progress. 

Discussion and evaluation of comments on the report by persons 
to whom the writer has shown the report before submitting 
it in final form. 

Your own evaluation of the report project itself if you think its 
importance or unimportance is particularly worth mentioning. 
- Your own conclusions and recommendations if you wish to make 
them and if they were not specifically requested in the report. 
( Depends on the boss; some would welcome unsolicited sug- 
gestions more than others.) 

Your attempt to fit your report into the big picture, the long- 
range perspective. 

Suggestions for application in practice of material in the report. 

Suggestions for further projects for your own research. 

Mention of new material encountered during research, unrelated 
to your project but in your opinion worthy of investigation. 

Answers to questions raised in the letter of authorization, if any. 
(See Fig. 47.) 

Importance. You can see, then, that in a sense your letter 
of transmittal or preface does a selling job on your report. It 
sets forth, either directly or by implication, your qualifications 
for writing it; it shows what you were trying to do and how 
well you think you succeeded; it shows who helped you and 
how; and it highlights the significance of the project. You 
phrase it as an informed person, with all the research and 
investment in writing your report behind you. You are now an 
authority on your subject, hence in a position to introduce your 
report in such a way that it will be of maximum interest and 
value to the reader. Any report is only as good as it is effec- 
tive—and your letter of transmittal can be important in achiev- 
ing your report's effectiveness. 

Also, your letter of transmittal is an opportunity to com- 
municate with your reader on another level than that of the 
report— a level in a way informal and off the record, even if 
the letter of transmittal is filed and kept by the reader. We 

184 Report Writing 

communicate on two levels at once all the time in speaking: 
in so many words, we may say "Don't think a thing of it, Jack; 
I was about to get a new pen anyway" while by our tone of 
voice or look (the second level) we may make it clear that we 
hold it against Jack for losing the pen, and that we don't plan 
to forgive him. The letter of transmittal gives you a chance to 
show your reader that you feel a sense of urgency, that you 
consider the information vital, or, more important to the reader's 
decision-making, that you feel somewhat apologetic because of 
incomplete information or lack of complete confidence in your 
results. Thus you can submit your report and comment on it 
at the same time. 

Exercises and Problems 

1. In writing a memorandum or letter to accompany a report, 
is it permissible to insert personal news, use nicknames, or refer to 
golf scores if the person to whom you are writing it is a close friend? 
There is no answer in the back of the book; we're just interested in 
what you think. 

2. Discuss the simplified letter form with several businessmen. 
What do they think of it and of its chance for general adoption? 
What do you think? 

3. You've gone through a lot of texts and reference books in your 
lifetime; how many of their prefaces have you read? Go through the 
texts you now use and read the prefaces; compare their content, ap- 
proach, style, usefulness. Use the project for a class discussion. 

4. Set up the following brief letter of transmittal in memorandum 
form to hand in. 

(for Mr. T. R. Bell, Executive Assistant to General 
Manager, T., C, and St. L. Railway, from L. E. Buell, 
Transportation Dept.) 

Here is the report that you asked me to give you, showing the 
Transportation Department safety performance during 
November, 1954. 

As disappointing as this performance is, there is a 5.7 per 
cent decrease in ratio as compared with November, 1953. 

Letter of Transmittal 185 

Although only 4 of the injuries were sustained as a result of 
snow and ice, the high Yard Service ratio, I believe, 
indicates that the weather could have been a major factor in 
our unfavorable performance. This ratio shows a 46.3 per 
cent increase as compared with the Yard Service ratio for 
November, 1953. 

5. Write a memorandum letter of transmittal to accompany the 
annual report of the college librarian to the president of Markham 
College, Markham, California. Here are selected excerpts from the 
report which you, as librarian, may want to mention: 

Statistics for Comparison 1945 1954 1955 

Total circulation 101,473 207,884 200,405 

Books lost by theft 412 270 31 

Book purchase budget $75,000 $75,000 $75,000 

New acquisitions, number of volumes 15,304 10,205 8,427 

Budget for student assistants $4,000 $4,500 $4,500 

Hourly wage rate paid student assistants . . $.50 $.60 $.65 

6. Revise the letter of transmittal on p. 184— this time paying 
especial attention to its content. 

7. Submit a draft of the letter of transmittal to accompany your 
long report assignment. 

8. Discuss the three letters of transmittal which follow. How 
well do they perform the function of a letter of transmittal? What 
revisions would you suggest? Rewrite whichever letter your in- 
structor assigns. 


Johnson Advertising, Inc. 

Office Atlanta 

Date 2/28/55 
From T. 0. Munns 
Attention B. R. Sutton Order No. 

Per your request of February 13, 1955 
you will find attached the complete 
procedure of the contract department. 

The report is divided under headings 
in the order of their importance. 

186 Report Writing 

At your request a revised report can 
be written at a later date to bring 
in any future changes. 

Inter-Office Correspondence 


Finishes Division 

DATE February 24, 1955 
FROM Robert Beckman 

TO Donald Liming, Vice President, Finishes Division 

SUBJECT: Labor Turnover - 1954 

During the year 1954, labor turnover became an 
important factor in our overall costs, not only from the 
standpoint of the Finishes Division, Salt Lake Plant, but 
from within the organization, namely, our Personnel 

With the emphasis being placed on reduced costs, 
we believe our Personnel Department could contribute con- 
siderably to the overall reduction you are striving to 
accomplish. To this end, we have completed a comprehensive 
survey, bringing forth the unadulterated facts as to the 
many reasons for our terminations, both voluntary and 
company releases. We feel certain the information will 
produce sufficient reasons for consideration in a change of 
our present rate structure, and a general improvement in 
working conditions; not to mention the increase in 
production that would be realized. 

Robert Beckman 


Exhibit A 
Exhibit B 

Letter of Transmittal 187 

Inedible Process Division 
Delta Company 
Cincinnati, Ohio 
March 2, 1949 

Mr. P. S. Jones, Superintendent 
Inedible Process Division 
Delta Company 
Cincinnati, Ohio 

Dear Mr. Jones: 

Attached is my special report project for the month of March. 
It is a written procedure on the necessary safety measures to 
be taken in the preparation of solvent tanks for welding and 

The procedure has been checked by the operating and mechani- 
cal supervision. Several very good suggestions were made by 
them, and these suggestions are now incorporated in the 
report attached. 

You will notice that we recommend that the procedure be in- 
corporated in Maintenance Standards. It is the opinion of 
all supervision that the damage possible to the department by 
neglecting the safety rules mentioned in the report warrants 
an inclusion in Maintenance Standards. Since our depart- 
ment is the only one of its type in the company, a fire or 
explosion could hamper the production of company products at 
every factory location. Any assistance that you may give in 
our campaign to include safety measures in the actual 
Maintenance Standards will be greatly appreciated by all 
members of Inedible Process Division. 

A copy of this report has also been sent to Mr. Clifford 
Smythe, Process Safety Engineer. 

I have tentatively selected a procedure for rapidly determ- 
ining the percent propylene glycol in alcohol for my special 
report project for the month of April. If this meets with 
your approval, I shall begin work on this project 

Respectfully submitted, 

Thomas C. Perry 


Supplementary Readings 
and Special Applications 

Chapter 12 

Writing a Report * 

Most of us find ourselves at some time up against the job of 
writing a report. It may be a business report or the report of a 
meeting; it may be our report as secretary of an organization, or an 
analysis of a situation in a factory. 

Writing a report need not be the ordeal so many of us fear it to 
be, and sometimes find it. Like so many other things, it is not par- 
ticularly difficult if we break it down into small jobs. The purpose 
of this Monthly Letter is to show, step-by-step, how to write a report. 
All the suggestions will not be appropriate to every report, but the 
principles will be generally useful. 

We should try to make reports constructive. Instead of threshing 
old straw, or moving in a pedestrian way through an account of some 
convention or meeting, it is much more interesting to offer vigorous 
and thought-provoking interpretations and ideas of our own. 

To prepare a good report we need to cultivate dependability, 
resourcefulness and patience, and do some hard work. Dr. Ewen 
Cameron says in What Is Life? that Mme Curie combined the in- 
tellect of a first-rate scientist with the skill of a first-rate craftsman 
and the patience of a first-rate charwoman. That is the recipe for 
holding the interest of listeners and readers; it is the only way in 
which we can discover or rediscover great truths. 

There are, broadly, two kinds of business reports: the information 
report and the research report. 

The information report is to keep an executive up to date with 
events, developments, and projects. The research report is the out- 
come of your investigation of phenomena. This may be in any 

* Reprinted from The Royal Bank of Canada Monthly Letter, February, 1952. 
By permission of the Royal Bank of Canada. 


192 Report Writing 

branch of human activity, from politics to labour relations, from 
some crank's idea about taking electricity out of the air to a plan 
for extending customer use of the power already developed. 

Any report upon which action may be based, or which may in- 
fluence executives in this or that direction, is an important piece of 
work, and deserves our earnest attention. There is no more engross- 
ing job than that of exploring in search of material for such a report. 

Before Beginning. Your work starts long before you make a 
motion toward your pen. You must be properly briefed, and that is 
a joint responsibility of you and your boss. You must know exactly 
what is wanted and why it is wanted. Requests for reports should 
refer to definite and limited problems. 

This simple working chart will be of help: ( 1 ) comprehend what 
you are required to report on; (2) ascertain all possible sources of 
information; (3) decide upon what sources to draw; (4) gather in- 
formation and explanations; (5) sift the evidence; (6) synthesize 
the acceptable evidence; (7) abstract what is to the point and dis- 
card the rest; (8) throw what is left into report form; (9) summarize 
your findings. 

There are at least four limitations upon research for a report; 
time, staff, money and data. It is important that the report writer 
should do his best within these limitations, and his report should 
note any shortcoming because of them. If the report is taken from 
the files years hence, it should provide evidence of the difficulties 
the research man encountered, so as to give a realistic starting point 
for following up or modernizing the report. 

Economy of effort will be possible to the report writer if he keeps 
a clearly defined purpose in mind, and refuses to allow himself to be 
drawn away by other things, however attractive they may be. 

Aesop Glim, known to advertising men through his articles in 
Printers' Ink, advises that, the problem being stated, the person pre- 
paring a report should sit down with time to make notes of all he 
knows about the subject. "Don't try to skimp and save words," he 
advises. "Go into detail. Enjoy yourself to your heart's content in 
writing sentence after sentence. Tell everything you know— explain 
the problem fully." 

The Objective. In planning the report, serious thought should 
be given to the need and temperament of the person for whom it is 
being prepared. Some persons want great detail, others will be 

General Readings 193 

content with deductions; some will want tables and graphs, while 
others will run a mile from a statistic. "What," the report writer 
should ask himself, "is to be done with what data by whom?" 

The kind of report we are considering now— one that gives infor- 
mation on the basis of which an executive may take action— is a sort 
of diagnosis. It tells what is right and what is wrong, and gives an 
interpretation which serves as the executive's guide to the remedy, 
should one be needed. 

There are two occasions when recommendations by the report 
writer are in order: when they are requested, and when the writer 
believes that because of his knowledge, experience, and other quali- 
ties, his voice is worth listening to. 

All recommendations are touched with the personality of the 
writer of the report. The wise man will make a distinction between 
his conclusions, based upon the facts he has uncovered, and his 
suggestions, based upon these conclusions. The former are ac- 
tualities, the latter are tinged with the colour of his opinions. 

If recommendations are made, they should be clear and definite. 
They should tell what to do, who is to do it, where it should be done, 
at what time, and why this is recommended. 

Form of the Report. Writing a report will be much easier if you 
work out a form, or skeleton. 

A good plan for the inexperienced report writer is to start with 
a statement in one sentence, setting forth the objective of the study 
which is being reported upon. This will focus attention upon the 
primary purpose. Then follow with main and subheadings, growing 
out of the sentence and leading toward the conclusion. 

It is surprising how greatly this plan helps to eliminate vagueness, 
fill in gaps in information and reasoning, and keep the writer on the 
track of competent thinking. 

Although it does not hold true in every case, the success of many 
reports may be attributed to a well-written introduction or synopsis. 
If attention of the reader is seized at this point, he is likely to pro- 
ceed into the body of the report with an expectant mind. Even 
when one is sure the report will be read, as when the topic is one 
of particular interest to an executive, it still is good practice to pro- 
vide a summary telling what the report is about and what point it 
makes. It should be sharp in its diction, sparing of words, and 
careful to promise no more than is in the report. 

194 Report Writing 

When you come to your preliminary outline, it should be drafted 
so as to give you a fairly clear idea of the road ahead, enable you 
to judge what you should stress, and provide you with a test of the 
adequacy of your research. 

The sheet which accompanies this Monthly Letter gives an idea 
of an adaptable outline as it is applied to this article. It may be 
used by anyone for a business or institutional or philosophical report, 
merely by using appropriate headings and subheadings. 

It is not necessary, in this short mention of the form of the report, 
to go into detail about the appendix, the table of contents, the index, 
and suchlike. These are features which are required only in ex- 
haustive and lengthy reports, and they fall into place quite naturally 
when their use is indicated. 

Chronological Reports and Research. The person who writes a 
report which records happenings in the order of their time sequence 
must bear in mind that events sometimes follow one another in suc- 
cessive points of time without tending toward an end. He needs to 
look out for cause-and-effect relationship. His report should tell 
origin, history, and development. It should bring out what is the 
focal point, the turning point, the key event that marks a change or 
indicates the need for a change. 

Many a chronological report is only a collection of episodes; only 
the starting place for research. Nothing much that is useful will 
flow from our work until we start asking questions and finding 

This leads us into consideration of the analytical report, which 
starts off with the idea that there is a problem to be solved, and 
marches toward definite conclusions. It is not a mere collection of 
data; it gathers facts for and against the proposal being studied, 
and then goes on to assess them by comparison and testing. 

The person embarking upon preparation of such a report has 
need of an open mind. His is a quest for truth, unbiased, un- 
prejudiced and clear-headed. He will not suspend his researches 
until they have reached the point where the returns from the in- 
vestigation have ceased to be really important. He will modify his 
thesis as he goes along, if necessary, to fit the new thoughts born 
of his study. 

There can be no more illustrious purpose than that of the research 
man: "To find the truth no matter how obscure; to recognize it no 

General Readings 195 

matter in what strange form it may present itself; to formulate it 
honestly; to state it unmistakably; and to reason from it remorselessly 
and without regard to prejudice." 

Business research is of many kinds. It may be designed to solve 
a merchandising or production or distribution problem; it may be 
called upon to find ways of effecting economies; it may be done in 
response to management's desire to anticipate trade developments 
within the industry, shifts in the economy of the country, or progress 
in technology. 

Its leading questions are: what is true? what is best? what 
is necessary? how do we do it? A good test question, to be used 
when the others have been answered, is: if I do that, then what 

The writer of a report can be sure he has done a good job if he 
is confident that he has analysed more profoundly than others the 
problem put before him; that he has achieved an original focus 
of facts toward a desired purpose; that he has supplied, in his report, 
alternative courses of action, the foreseeable consequences of which 
he has fully thought out; and that he provides not only a well-written 
report but a solid block of knowledge on which to build. 

Not much need be said about the various kinds of analytic 
reports except just to name them. The case study, while incom- 
plete in itself because no conclusions can be drawn from one case, 
is useful as part of a larger project. It can be enlightening, and 
because of the narrowness of its field, it can be thorough. The 
genetic study traces the development of its subject, stressing the 
causal sequence of events. The comparative method involves bring- 
ing together significant facts. Its chief impediment seems to lie 
in the danger of bias attending selection of the facts to be compared, 
and the perplexity of discriminating wisely. 

Much of abiding value may be learned by report writers and 
research men who study military "appreciations." These follow 
logical sequence: 

I. The object to be attained 
II. Factors which affect attainment of the object 

III. Courses open to 

A— our own side 
B— the enemy 

IV. The plan. 

196 Report Writing 

Instruction in preparation of appreciations is given in Field Serv- 
ice Pocket Book, Part 1, Pamphlet No. 4, issued by the War Office, 
London. The factors relevant to a military situation do not all apply 
in industrial or social life, but the thorough analysis of the problem 
demanded by the military people is suggestive for all who write re- 

Sources of Information. Collecting information is the foundation 
of all good reporting. Thomas Edison gave this advice: "The first 
thing is to find out everything everybody else knows, and then begin 
where they left off." 

While every problem will have its peculiar requirements, certain 
sources of data are common to nearly all: observation, experimenta- 
tion, books, questionnaires, interviews, workshop and accounting 
records. The successful writer will be resourceful in his research 
activities, thinking of new approaches and seeking data overlooked 

Data may be primary or secondary. Just as in law the evidence 
of an eye-witness is more valuable than that of a person who testi- 
fies at second-hand, so in business and other reports the fruits of 
observation and experimentation rate high marks. He is a wise re- 
port writer who applies, whenever possible, observation and experi- 
mentation to check the findings of others; he is likely to remain 
unremarkable for his work if he merely echoes the opinions of 
others, believes things because others believe them, and uses only 
books and papers with which he is in complete accord. 

Secondary sources depend for their value upon their accuracy, 
their acuteness of valuation, the validity of their reasoning, and the 
applicability of their conclusions to the case being studied. 

No statement is more reliable than its source. The report writer 
must spend long hours in gathering facts, arranging them, interpret- 
ing them— and then as much time again in checking the accuracy 
and worthwhileness of what he has in his hand. It is useless to 
quote a writer unless he is known to be competent in his field. It 
is dangerous to give the opinion of a man unless he is recognized 
as being unbiased, up-to-date and in all respects reliable. 

Writing the Report. Having gathered the facts and laid them 
out in order, we must compose our report. 

This is a time when a writer wishes to be alone. John Ruskin 
had circulars which he used to head off visitors, invitations and 

General Readings 197 

letters. They read like this: "Mr. J. Ruskin is about to begin a work 
of great importance and therefore begs that in reference to calls and 
correspondence you will consider him dead for the next two 

Literary skill, in whatever field it is exercised, means ability to 
present a subject as accurately and as vividly as possible. We should 
at least write our reports as if we were interested in what we are 
trying to write, and when we do so we have gone a long way toward 
giving our reports significance. 

The report writer needs to analyse, and group, and marshal his 
facts into order. He must classify and conquer the elements of the 
chaos around him before he can hope to appeal with any force to 
the intelligence of other people. In this process of viewing the 
whole situation and at the same time seeing its components, the 
writer will detect incongruities to avoid and discern a path to 

These are skills which come only, so far as we know, with prac- 
tice, but there are some hints about the process of writing which 
apply in all circumstances. 

The Report Must Be Practical. We have a loose way of think- 
ing of a realist as one who not only sees things as they are materially, 
but acquiesces in them: let us rather, as report writers, consider 
ourselves as being realists in the sense that we understand things 
as we have found them, not as we would find it convenient to be- 
lieve them. 

The Report Must Be Complete. We must have walked all 
around the matter about which we are reporting, seeing the good 
and the bad, the perfect and the imperfect, the desirable and the 
undesirable. We must have provided adequate proof for our favour- 
able and our unfavourable findings. Do not be content with one 
opinion: it may be the wrong one. As Cicero once pointed out, 
nothing is so absurd that someone has not called it profound; nothing 
so profound that someone has not called it absurd. 

The Report Must Be Concise. It may be as long as a roller 
towel, or as short as the message on a post card: length is not the 
criterion. Conciseness does not consist in using few words, but in 
covering the subject in the fewest possible words that will express 
what is in the writer's mind. 

198 Report Writing 

Here is the story of the Odyssey in 79 words: "A certain man is 
away from home for a number of years, being closely watched by 
Poseidon and stripped of all his companions, while his affairs at 
home are in such shape that his money is being squandered by 
wooers of his wife, and his son is being plotted against. After being 
shipwrecked by a storm, he arrives home, makes himself known to 
some, and attacks the wooers, with the result that he is saved and 
his enemies destroyed." In giving us this gem of condensation in 
his Poetics, Aristotle remarks: "That is the real story of the Odyssey. 
The rest is episodes." 

We recall Prime Minister Winston Churchill's wartime memo- 
randa, demanding that his cabinet ministers confine their reports 
on the most momentous matters to a single page. "It is," he told the 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, "sheer laziness not compress- 
ing thought into a reasonable space." 

The Report Must Be Clear. Only the careful organization of 
facts and interpretation will enable the reader to follow what is to 
the WTiter a clear-cut line of reasoning. The art of good prose re- 
sides not so much in the swing and balance of the language as in the 
marshalling of argument, the orderly procession of ideas, the dis- 
position of parts so that each finds its proper place. The writer 
misses his target if the idea in his mind is not received with under- 
standing. As Alice said after reading Jabberwocky: "Somehow it 
seems to fill my head with ideas— only I don't exactly know what 
they are." 

Use of trite expressions shows that the writer is in a rut. If 
he has no imagination in his language is it likely, the executive 
will ask, that he exercised any imagination in his analysis of this 

There is no place in good writing for proverbs, saws, and tinkling 

Foggy language detracts from the force of writing, and use of 
words loosely may well vitiate all usefulness that might have been 
incorporated in a report. We say nothing against trade, occupa- 
tional or professional jargon so long as the report is solely for 
people who are on speaking terms with it. That sort of talk is not 
infrequently the only kind in which a writer can convey the true 
meaning of his thought to a particular audience. But jargon has 
no place in reports which may be read by the uninitiated. 

General Readings 199 

The Report Must Be Intellectually Honest. The facts must 
be scrupulously weighed and properly evaluated, and the writer 
must sincerely attempt to present something that has a judicial 
quality. He will draw a distinct line between what he has found 
to be fact, what is his opinion, and what he sets up as hypothesis. 

The Report Must Be Readarle. We cannot afford to assume 
that our report will be read because the boss is interested in the 
subject. We should try to add to the clarity of our presentation 
something that will lift it above the ordinary. 

There may be an ivory-tower disposition toward decorum, lead- 
ing us to think that research requires a depersonalized manner of 
writing. The truth is that nothing written is useful unless it is at- 
tractive enough to be read. We are entitled to be as brilliant and 
interesting as we can be, so long as we observe the requirements 
of correctness, relevance and the objective. 

And Having Written. Having written it, the writer would be 
well advised to forget about his report for as long as time permits. 
If he tries to make corrections and improvements as soon as he has 
finished the writing, his memory of what he meant to write may be 
so strong that he will overlook the shortcomings of what he actually 

Here are some questions to ask at the time of revision: is my re- 
port fair, broad-minded and dignified? Have I used enough imag- 
ination in presenting the facts? Have I answered all the pertinent 
questions likely to arise in the reader's mind? Does my report read 
as if a human being wrote it? 

It is well to read the report aloud: if it is easy to read you may 
bank upon its being easy to understand. If you hesitate over a 
word, a phrase or a sentence, take a second look. 

Finally, don't allow yourself to be lulled into feeling that writing 
a report is an easy thing to do. 

The writer who achieves distinction of expression, conciseness, 
directness— and, if the nature of his work permits it, dramatic quality, 
beauty of rhythm, and some adventurousness of phrase and idea- 
has not done something miraculous. He has worked hard and 

Included with The Royal Bank of Canada Monthly Letter 
issue of February, 1952, containing "Writing a Report," was a 
blue card containing three sample report outlines: 

200 Report Writing 


Here are three sample outlines, adaptable to many kinds of re- 

The first is the outline used in preparing this Monthly Letter; the 
second is an imaginary outline for a report on electrical develop- 
ment, and the third is the very concise type of outline used in the 

(1) Writing a Report 

There are four steps in writing a report: 
I. Define your Objective 

A. Information 

B. Policy Making 

1. With diagnosis of conditions 

2. With recommendations for action 
II. Determine the Form 

A. Narrative 

1. Chronological . . . (causes, origin, successive 
stage of development, results, conclusions from the 

2. Episodic ... (in story form) 

B. Analysis (research) 

1. Case Study 

2. Genetic 

3. Comparative 

4. Appreciation 

C. Compilation 
III. Search your Sources 

A. Kinds of Sources 

1. Primary 

a. Observation 

b. Experimentation 

2. Secondary 

a. Documents 

b. Comments by critics 

B. Reliability of Sources 

1. Informed Observation 

2. Written Information 

a. The Writer 

b. The Work 

General Readings 201 

IV. Do the Writing 

A. Completeness 

B. Conciseness 

C. Clarity 

1. Semantic clearness 

2. Intellectual honesty 

D. Readability 

1. Simple 

2. Short paragraphs and sentences 

3. Etc. 

( 2 ) A "Progressive" Outline 

I. Canada's resources in electric energy are adequate, for 

A. The present source of supply shows that 

1. The hinterland storage areas are plentiful, and 

2. Artificial catchment areas provide alternative stor- 

B. The sites available for power development are in excess 
of presently foreseen needs. 

C. Water power may be expected to furnish a supply, for 

1. Precipitation is fairly constant 

2. The flow is regular, or 

a. may be regulated by afforestation 

b. or by storage dams 

II. Therefore no alternative kinds of power would be useful, 

A. They would be uneconomical 

1. in cost 

2. by duplication of existing facilities 

B. Canada's potential industrial development is limited 

1. by the nature of its land 

2. by market inaccessibility 

3. by competition 

( 3 ) An Army Appreciation 

I. The object to be attained 
II. Factors which affect attainment of the object 

III. Courses open to 

A. our own side 

B. the enemy 

IV. The plan 

202 Report Writing 

Report Writing * 
by A. S. Donnelly 

Some of us may still recall our introduction to reports— those 
dread days of reckoning when, hoping for the best but fearing the 
worst, we saw our parents read our school reports. With school 
days behind us we gradually saw that business executives as well as 
headmasters, write and read reports. Perhaps we began to realise 
that modern business could not function properly without reports- 
reports prepared by various people for various purposes. 

So you can see that knowing how to write effective reports is a 
question of importance to almost everyone in business. Yet little 
attention is given to this subject in business education. In practical 
training it is often overlooked. Public libraries have several texts 
on reports for the engineer, chemist, and other technical men, but 
practically nothing on the business report. 

These things arise, I think, from a mistaken belief that report 
writing is not worthy of separate study— a belief that writing a re- 
port is merely a routine matter involving no special skill. Hence 
there are some who say that little can be gained by a study of this 

Merely to write a report may not require much specialised skill. 
But to write an effective report certainly does. And remember that 
a report is not effective unless it conveys clearly to the reader what 
is in the mind of the writer. This involves a systematic approach, 
careful organisation, the use of good English and a style of writing 
most likely to be effective. 

If you have to write a report your work consists basically of two 
major tasks. Firstly you must organise the material for the report. 
Then you must write the report. 

Organisation. Just how you should approach the task of organis- 
ing a report depends on such things as the type of report, the person 
for whom it is being prepared, the relative importance of the subject 
matter, and the facilities available. There may be other specific 
factors to be taken into account. The time available for the job is 

* Reprinted from The ABWA Bulletin, January, 1954, pp. 5-12, by per- 
mission of the author and The American Business Writing Association. This 
article was originally an address delivered to the members of the Brisbane, 
Australia, Junior Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Donnelly is the editor of Brighter 
Business, Brisbane, Australia. 

General Readings 203 

important. Sometimes it may be better to produce a report quickly 
with investigation of major issues only, rather than to spend time 
on a more detailed investigation. 

Know What Is Required. You must have clearly in your mind 
just what is required by the report. Perhaps an examination will 
reveal that the time is not ripe or that there are not sufficient details 
available. If this is so, then you should promptly contact your client, 
principal, or the executive responsible and tell him what you have 
found. He may defer the report or perhaps cancel the instructions 

A little thought along these lines would probably save the Gov- 
ernment printer a great deal of work. Some Ministers have an ob- 
session for calling for reports which are seldom used. Indeed their 
enthusiasm in calling for reports is matched only by their consistency 
in failing to take action on the reports which have been prepared. 

Sources of Information. When you have a clear picture of the 
real purpose of the report and know what is required, the next step 
is to decide on these things: 

What sources of information are available? 
How intensive must the examination be? 

For some reports you may need only to refer to a few files or in- 
terview a few people. Others may involve a great deal of research 
work. This work may be done as part of normal routine. For ex- 
ample, the reports of auditors are based on notes made during the 
course of the audit. 

You may have to refer to sources outside of your own organisa- 
tion. A report on sales promotion may be more effective if it in- 
cludes reference to the trend of total sales in the industry. Statistics 
such as the Survey of Retail Establishments conducted by the Com- 
monwealth Statistician are helpful. The person who has much to 
do with writing reports— or in directing others to write reports- 
should make it his business to know what relevant information is 
available. Trade associations, professional institutes and public 
libraries are possible sources of information. 

Gathering Information. Thus far you have clearly fixed in your 
mind what is required by the report. You have decided what sources 
of information are available and the extent of the investigation nec- 
essary. Next step is to gather this information. Here the habit of 

204 Report Writing 

notetaking is invaluable. Work always on the idea that some acci- 
dent may befall you and somebody else may have to take over 
the task. If you do this you are more likely to write an effective 

Gathering information for a report is likely to be useful in other 
directions as well. Sometimes the gathering of information may be 
almost as fruitful as the presentation of the report. . . . 

Where reports are presented at regular intervals, some time may 
be saved by a degree of standardisation. Standard working papers 
may lessen the chance of items being overlooked. Standardisation 
of routine is wise, but standardised reports may or may not be a 
good thing. It is essential for the report writer to keep an open 
mind. Disregard of this maxim is likely to make the report almost 
valueless. In practically every office you will find reports that are 
never read— or if they are read given scant attention— because they 
are stereotyped and fail to arouse interest. I am afraid that public 
accountants are among the greatest offenders in this regard. 

Sorting the Information. It is unwise to attempt to sort the in- 
formation until you have completed the examination. To do other- 
wise is like betting on a card hand before you have bought cards. 
The two cards you buy may turn three of a kind into a full hand. 
Something revealed at the end of the examination may have a far 
reaching effect on the rest of your investigation. Trying to knock 
the report into shape before you complete the gathering of informa- 
tion is likely to make you jump to conclusions. The report writer 
must strive to be objective. Jumping to conclusions during the inves- 
tigation is likely to make the report too subjective. This need to be 
objective is important in all reports; in reports prepared by inde- 
pendent experts it is vital. 

First stage in sorting the information is to read through it— or 
glance through it— to determine what information is of secondary 
importance only. This information may be eliminated. Or it may 
be better to exclude it from the report, but convey the information 
personally or by letter to interested parties. 

After this primary sorting, you will have left information which 

1. Is to go into the report; or 

2. Has a bearing on what is to go into the report. 

General Readings 205 

Perhaps some of it is documentation for statements which you 
will make in the report. This is important. You need chapter and 
verse to support any statements that may be challenged. 

Tentative Conclusions. At this stage the pattern of your inves- 
tigation will begin to take shape. From the summarized facts you 
can see what conclusions and recommendations (if there are to be 
any) are likely to appear in the final report. This is the appropri- 
ate place to follow up any queries. 

If you have to make an adverse report on a Department or Sec- 
tion, it is usually better to ask for the comments of the responsible 
person on the point. There may be a simple explanation. If there 
is, you would look rather foolish if this explanation were made to 
the person for whom the report was prepared after the report has 
been completed. It would tend to lessen the confidence of the 
reader in the rest of your report. There may, of course, be special 
circumstances where this course is inadvisable; e.g., a case of sus- 
pected theft. 

The conclusions you have reached and the recommendations you 
propose to make should be listed. Then you should think over 
them and check them to see that they are 


Not beyond the terms of your authority or the scope of the 

If you are drawing conclusions from statistics be careful to 
check them. Most important, apply the good old test of common 
sense to them. A statistically perfect deduction that is at variance 
with common sense should not be accepted— at least not, without 
further investigation. 

If it is practicable— particularly for the relatively inexperienced 
—consult a colleague or refer to case histories, files, or copies of 
similar reports in the past. This final check before listing your 
conclusions and recommendations is a safeguard against presenting 
a misleading report. 

Try to plan things so that there is some time for thinking over 
the conclusions before writing the report (that is, in the case of 
an important and lengthy report). Sleep on your tentative con- 
clusions if you can. In practice this may not always be possible, 

206 Report Writing 

but careful planning may ensure that this important phase of the 
task is not rushed. 

Importance of Organisation. This now brings us to the stage 
of commencing the actual writing of the report. Perhaps some of 
you may be inclined to say "it's about time." You may be able to 
recall really good reports which you or others have written without 
going through all the "fuss and bother" already outlined. This 
would probably be due to the fact that all the information was at 
your fingertips or readily available without much research. Per- 
haps you were so familiar with the subject matter that you were 
able to commence writing the report with practically no planning. 

What I have described are the main principles of organising a 
report. The application of these principles would vary a great deal 
depending on the type of report and the knowledge of essential 
facts which is possessed by the report writer. The principles may 
be applied subconsciously by the expert. But remember that the 
organising work is the "bones" of the report and the writing is the 
"clothes" in which the fact finding is wrapped. Though it is said 
that clothes make the man, lack of character in a man will even- 
tually be revealed no matter how attractive his clothes may be. 

So with reports. A good writer may be able to partly conceal 
the lack of fact finding, or to gloss over the imperfections. But 
anything more than a casual glance at the report will reveal its 

Length of Report. From what you have learned in the course 
of your examination, and what you know of the person for whom 
the report is being prepared, you must decide on the approximate 
length. That does not mean that you must try to set in advance 
a length and then stick to it when you write the report. To do 
that would probably mar the report. But by nature some reports 
are more comprehensive than others. 

Mostly the people for whom reports are prepared are extremely 
busy men. They don't want to spend any more time than neces- 
sary on reading reports. So anything you can do to shorten the 
report without leaving out essentials is a good thing. Here the 
sorting which you did in the organisation stage will be helpful. 

Incidentally, shortening a report saves typing time and filing 
space and reduces paper costs. By and large it can mean a con- 
siderable saving where many reports are written. 

General Readings 207 

That's why brevity should be one of the main goals of the report 
writer. There is a common but incorrect belief that a brief report 
must necessarily be less comprehensive. But this is not so. I have 
seen many very long reports that were far from comprehensive; 
they have been mainly words and more words with little substance. 

You can write brief but complete reports by being selective. 
Give attention in your report to major items. Either eliminate or 
mention only briefly those facts which are of minor importance. 

It may be better to place tables of figures separately after the 
end of the report— as a sort of appendix— rather than clutter up the 
report with them. A lot of figures interrupts the even flow of read- 
ing and makes it harder to digest the report. If you use an appendix 
you need refer only briefly to the most important items in the text. 

Mostly it is better to eliminate shillings and pence from the re- 
port as they have little significance and tend to confuse (particu- 
larly if the report is to be read at a meeting). Indeed it is often 
advisable to refer to the nearest hundred or thousand. Remember 
that in the report it is only with the major items that you are con- 
cerned. A reader interested in details can refer to the table in 
the appendix. 

If possible use words rather than figures. For instance, suppose 
you were commenting on sales which this year were 748,123/17/9 
compared with 688,876/3/4 last year. Why not say this: 

Sales (in thousands of pounds) amounted to a little over seven 
hundred and forty-eight compared with just under six hundred and 
eighty-nine last year. This is an increase of almost nine per cent. 

Style. To write brief and effective reports you must give some 
thought to the matter of style. This does not mean that you need 
a grand literary style. Nor does "Style" in this sense have the same 
meaning as it has when we describe a flashily dressed person as a 
"ball of style." 

In fact the essence of a good style is sincerity and simplicity. 
But as businessmen we have a bad habit of using a rather over 
formal style of writing. We tend to use passive words rather than 
active terms. Our sentences are long, and their complexity greatly 
reduces the reader appeal. If we want to arouse the interest of 
those who read our reports, we must make an effort— and it is an 
effort because old habits die hard— to be more dynamic, less formal 
and more interesting in what we write. 

208 Report Writing 

If we don't do this, the value of all the work we did in organising 
the report may be wasted. In reading, as in other things, first im- 
pressions tend to be lasting. The reader of the report does not 
want to burrow through a mass of verbiage, hackneyed phrases and 
passive words. 

Here are a few rules or guides to an interesting effective style of 
writing. Many of them apply as well to letters. (Attention to letter 
writing is excellent practice for report writing.) 

First. Use a short word in preference to a long one. Don't say 
"communication" when you mean "letter"; "acknowledge" when 
"receive" is just as good; "anticipate" when "expect" means the 

Second. Use an active or concrete word in preference to an abstract 
or passive one. 

Third. Avoid technical terms unless the report is destined to be read 
by technical people or unless there is no other word just right for 
what you wish to say. An accountant is more likely to be under- 
stood if he uses the term "amounts owing to the firm" or "Accounts 
receivable" rather than "Sundry Debtors." 

Fourth. Avoid hackneyed phrases which have little real meaning. 
"Thanking you in anticipation"— "Assuring you of our best services 
at all times"— "Enclosed please find" are examples of phrases which 
should be omitted or replaced by a better phrase. 

Fifth. Avoid long sentences. An average sentence length of about 
twenty words is desirable. But it is wise to vary sentence length 
somewhat to avoid monotony. 

There are a few simple devices which you can use to create em- 
phasis and to prevent the report from appearing tedious. The chief 
of these are: 

1. The use of punctuation— particularly the dash and colon where 
you wish to highlight a few words. 

2. The use of what is known as the rhetorical question. This arouses 
the interest of the reader and tends to emphasise what follows. 
For example, after setting out reasons for action, or describing 
difficulties, one of the following questions may be suitable: 

Is there any alternative? 
Can anything be done now? 

followed by "Yes, we can start to reorganise immediately" or 
something along these lines. 

General Readings 209 

3. A small sentence containing a few words; ^g., "But this is not 
all" or "The benefits go even further." 

4. A judicious use of tabulation; e.g., setting out advantages or 
reasons one under the other draws attention to them. 

5. Inverting the usual order of the sentence. For example, you 
may say "That the system was weak is proved by these facts." 

Now here is a paragraph showing how some of these devices can 
be used: 

To regard punctuation as a necessary evil in writing is to overlook 
its real purpose. It can be a help— and a valuable one— towards a 
free pleasant style. And that is not all. The use of dashes can help 
to emphasise points— provided you don't overdo it. Remember this 
fact: to emphasise everything is to emphasise nothing! 

You will see how the inverted sentence, the dash, the very small 
sentence, the colon and the exclamation mark have been used. . . . 

Human Interest. What has been said will help you, I hope, to 
write reports that are easy to read. But a report will be even more 
effective if you can "bring it to life." To do this you need to use 
personal pronouns such as "he," "she," "I," "you," "we" and proper 
names wherever you can. 

In many reports— mainly those of important experts— this may 
not be possible. But it should be done wherever it can. 

Naturally you should not use the term "I" too much. It may 
create an impression of egotism. But occasionally it can be used. 
"I submit" or "I suggest" or "may I suggest" is more interesting 
and more lifelike than "It is suggested." 

Illustration. A Chinese proverb says that one picture is worth 
a hundred words. Remember this when you write reports. 

A simple diagram may illustrate an idea very clearly. Most— 
but not all— people can understand financial results better when 
they are shown in graphical form rather than in long rows of figures. 

There are however some traps for the unwary in graphical pres- 
entation; care is necessary in choosing the form to be used. . . . 

Appearance. If you have a good product to sell you don't spoil 
its chances by unattractive packaging. So don't spoil your report 
by a poor layout. 

The modern company report shows what can be done with a 
good layout to attract interest. Even in the shorter typed report 

210 Report Writing 

the appearance can be improved by such things as double spacing, 
sectional headings, tabulation, the use of an attractive cover, etc. 

Conclusion. Earlier I said that there is an art in report writing. 
A few acquire the art easily. But for most of us it is a matter of 
hard work. We must constantly strive to improve our ability in 
this subject by constant practice. 

This can best be done by applying the principles wherever pos- 
sible. Many of them can be applied in letter writing and public 
speaking. Whether you have written one report or a thousand you 
should not miss any chance of improving your skill by practice. 

To sum up: An article recently published by the Royal Bank of 
Canada set out the marks of a good report as: 


Trite expressions should be avoided. 
It must be intrinsically honest. 
It must be readable. 

If you want to write good reports use those items as a check list. 
This will help you a great deal. It will help the organisation with 
which you are connected. 

And in the field of public relations it will do more than that. 
Good readable company reports . . . will dispel a lot of myths 
fostered by the enemies of society. 

Finally, such reports will demonstrate the truth of what your 
creed sets out, namely "That economic Justice can best be won 
by free men through free enterprise." 

Report of the 195S ABWA Reports Committee * 


Vernon Edwards, Mississippi State 
Dorothy Greenwald, University of Michigan 
John Hislop, Riverside College (California) 
H. B. Knoll, Purdue University 

* The "Report of the 1953 ABWA Reports Committee" is used by permission 
of the committee chairman, Professor E. D. Hedgcock, Professor of English, 
Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. Professor Hedgcock made a gen- 
eral compilation of the company comments and has supplied the data on ob- 

General Readings 211 

Stephen B. Miles, Jr., Lockheed Aircraft Corporation 

Robert L. Shurter, Case Institute 

Norman Sigband, De Paul University 

Cecil B. Williams, Oklahoma A. & M. College 

Ernest Hedgcock (Cnairman), A. & M. College of Texas 

For the benefit of the American Business Writing Association member- 
ship the 1953 Reports Committee set out to collect specimen reports and 
also to get comments by business executives concerning the use and 
preparation of reports. A display of the returns was made at the national 
convention in Cincinnati, December 28-30, 1953. 

Requests for such matter were sent to approximately 150 nationally 
known companies in all parts of the country. Seventy-nine of the 150 
contributed their ideas about reports; 14 sent 25 reports which they 
wrote or were using; 11 of the reports were in the "long" category, 14 

Following is a summary of the findings of the committee: 

1. Actual business or professional reports are hard to get. (Two mem- 
bers of the committee, members with excellent business contacts, got 
none at all. And they tried.) 

2. Opinions about reports are comparatively easy to secure. 

3. There is universal agreement that ability to prepare a report is of 
great importance, perhaps of equal importance with having informa- 
tion to convey. (Note: One executive thinks that entirely too many 
reports are written.) 

4. Ability to prepare a good report practically insures the writer's ad- 
vancement and even in slack times his steady employment. 

5. Aside from the obvious aim to convey requested information, the 
primary concern of the writer of a report is to save the reader's time. 
(Neither the time nor the feelings of the writer are of consequence, 
and the higher the reader's rank the greater is the need for brevity and 
clarity. ) 

6. Formalities are important, but they vary with the needs and whims 
of the reader, They are therefore of little importance in a college 
course as compared with sound language principles and practices, 

7. Almost never is a person just out of college able to prepare a satis- 
factory report because (a) he lacks the ability to analyze a problem, 
get the facts about the issues involved, classify the facts or data, and 
organize them logically; (b) he cannot write clearly and concisely; 

jectives and results of the survey and the summary of findings. He informs us 
that Professor John Hislop, Riverside College, contributed a great many of the 
company comments. The selecting of comments from Professor Hedgcock's 
compilation and arranging them under headings was done by Cecil B. Williams 
The committee's questionnaire stressed intra-company reports. 

212 Report Writing 

or (c) he lacks either the realization of the difficulty of preparing a 
good report or the nerve to undergo the ordeal. 

Importance of Business Reports. 

First National Bank of Boston. The importance of the ability 
to write worthwhile reports cannot be over-emphasized. We have 
many employees who know their work thoroughly and yet are not 
reaching the top-level jobs, principally because they cannot write 
brief, well-constructed, and understandable reports. 

First National Bank of Minneapolis. I concur with your em- 
phasis on the importance of training students along these lines, and 
it is one of the fields in which considerable progress could be made. 
It seems to me that the ability to express oneself in written form is 
one of the most important fields of training which a man should 
secure for business. Perhaps it is second only to ability to express 
oneself orally and before groups. 

Glenn L. Martin Company. We are in full accord with your ob- 
jective of developing, by means of actual examples and otherwise, 
an ability on the part of students of business administration to 
write good intra-company reports. In our opinion, it cannot be 
impressed too strongly upon potential administrative personnel that 
their value to their employers, and hence their possibility of ad- 
vancement, are contingent to a most important extent upon the 
effectiveness with which they can convey their thoughts in writing. 
This is true whether they intend to be engaged in the sales, finan- 
cial, public relations, engineering, production, or virtually any 
other function of the business, and this facility tends to increase 
in importance with the size of the firm. 

North America Companies. Why are reports prepared? So far 
as I can see, a report is prepared to give to someone else the ex- 
periences undergone by the report-makers. This broadly worded 
phrase is intended to include such events as minutes of meetings, 
attendance at conventions, and studies made to discover answers 
to more or less specific questions. It is important, I think, to realize 
that they are a means of making economical use of time— the person 
to whom the report is made has not had the opportunity as a rule 
to attend the meeting or the convention or to investigate the prob- 
lem personally. Instead, he wants a report made to him by someone 
who was there for that specific purpose. To my way of thinking 

General Readings 213 

this fundamental must never be forgotten when the preparation of 
a report is undertaken. 

Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company. Your subject is indeed 
one that needs attention; the only opportunity many young execu- 
tives have of presenting their views and becoming known to their 
superior officers is through their reports; therefore, they must be 

Requirements of Good Reports. 

Burroughs Adding Machine Company. The principal comments 
we would have about reports are that they should be as short, as 
much to the point, as logically organized, and in as simple, narra- 
tive language as possible. 

Columbia Broadcasting System. Although many of us have had 
formalized instruction in report writing at schools of business ad- 
ministration and, in numerous cases, exposure to the "staff study" 
techniques of the military establishments, we agree that, for our 
particular purposes, correct reference to organizational principles 
and human relationships is of greater value than reference to rules 
regarding report structure. We assume, of course, literacy and gen- 
eral intellectual standards sufficient to allow for written expression 
of thought with reasonable facility. 

Douglas Aircraft Company. More consideration should be given 
to demands on executive time. Reports often are written with 
the view of showing off the intellect of the writer. Top executives 
have mountains of reading to do, and consideration should be given 
to this fact since a long, dry report, even though important, may 
not "get through" to the executive as well as a simple resume, 
backed up by research. 

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. In all the train- 
ing with our supervisory staff, we rather urge them to make their 
reports brief, yet complete enough to give all of the necessary data. 
We also encourage them to refrain, as much as possible, from gen- 
eralities and to make the contents of their reports specific, using 
figures and well-defined units as frequently as possible. 

Mississippi Power &■ Light Company. We have tried to simplify 
our reports by using non-technical language and express our views 
in words of one syllable and not more than five letters. I have 
always felt that short, concise sentences phrased in ordinary day-to- 

214 Report Writing 

day conversation are much better than a display of rhetoric and the 
use of words which the reader must refer to a dictionary to under- 

Motorola, Inc. I think there are five important ingredients in 
any report that is made, particularly from a junior executive: (1) 
Imagination— to thoroughly understand and analyze the assignment 
which has been given or to think up a matter on which a report 
is required; (2) Research— complete, thorough scientific research 
into the matter; (3) Be sure of the facts; (4) Exercise best judg- 
ment available— weigh both the tangible and intangible; ( 5 ) Finally, 
an ingredient which is left out of far too many reports— make a 
definite recommendation. 

National Rubber Machinery Company. Like everyone else, in 
reading reports we appreciate clarity of thought and conciseness 
of presentation. So many papers come across one's desk that brief, 
precise reports are essential. Our experience would indicate that 
involved sentence structure, redundant phraseology, and indefinite 
reference are common faults of report writing today. A vague 
understanding of the mechanics of punctuation is also evident. 

Techniques in Report Writing. 

American Bosch Corporation. I have a feeling that it is very 
difficult to standardize the form or style of intra-company reports. 
Assuming that the report writer has all the necessary facts and in- 
formation for the report, the writer's objective is to produce a 
report in the form and style which pleases his particular supervisor. 
My point is that a report writer must not only have some knowl- 
edge as to what constitutes a good report, but must in addition 
determine and take into consideration what his supervisor thinks con- 
stitutes a good report. I find that there is a great variation of opin- 
ion on this subject among successful supervisors. 

American Surety Company. It would seem that the type of re- 
port to be rendered depends to a large extent upon what level of 
management is to be reached. At the lower level, reports will 
usually be quite detailed and lengthy. As the same report is con- 
sidered by higher authority it is reduced to bare essentials. As 
it reaches top management it will contain only a fraction of its origi- 
nal material. In our opinion a good rule for reports of any kind 
is that they be accurate, concise and free from ambiguity or con- 

General Readings 215 

Armour and Company. I think that a business report should be 
written so that an executive can absorb the essence of it in a 
hurry. At the same time the report should contain sufficient detail 
so that the statements of the person making the report are fully 
supported by facts. There are two ways to do this. One is to set 
the report up with captions and subcaptions which tell the story in 
very much the same manner as newspaper headlines tell the essence 
of the news. The other method is to write a complete report and 
then attach a summary of the contents. . . . The report . . . should 
tell what is wrong with the operation, the data supporting this con- 
clusion and the investigator's recommendations for correction. After 
that, if the investigator wants to make some favorable comment 
in justice to the persons involved, that is all right. We also see re- 
ports in which the subordinate submits a lot of data and says, in 
effect, "Here is what I found out and maybe we should do this or 
maybe we should do that." Usually the executive does nothing 
about a report of this nature, and the work put in on the entire 
project is wasted. Young people, particularly, have a weakness for 
putting inconclusive, half-developed ideas on paper. If the report 
is worth writing, it should contain a concrete proposal that the 
person addressed can say yes or no to. It should call for definite 
action to reach a definite objective. The first thing a person should 
decide in writing a report is what he thinks the boss wants to 
know . . . and what he thinks the boss ought to do about it. Once 
these decisions are made, writing the report should be compara- 
tively easy. 

Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. As for the actual 
technique of writing the report, I think it is probably wiser to start 
with an outline and, if possible, to summarize the contents at the 
beginning with a few brief paragraphs, for the executives who will 
not read beyond a paragraph or two regardless of the report. 

Home Life Insurance Company. Consultation with several de- 
partment heads who deal directly with new trainees has yielded the 
following deficiencies: (1) Failure to properly analyze the prob- 
lem by eliminating extraneous material and correctly weighting the 
important aspects; (2) Failure to organize and integrate the mate- 
rial in logical sequence of presentation from the salient facts to 
conclusions drawn. In this respect it is important not to lose sight 
of the over-all objective of the report; (3) Simply accepting other 
people's verbiage instead of couching the ideas in the writer's own 

216 Report Writing 

terms. Too often the trainees' departmental reports are simply a 
replay of the phraseology employed by the department head; (4) 
Failure to be impersonal or objective, particularly when discussing 
actual work and activities where personalities are involved. This 
seems to be a common failing which most men correct after they 
have been in business for a while. Conversely, the opposites of 
these deficiencies would seem to represent the most important qual- 
ities of good reports. 

Monsanto Chemical Company. Business executives are con- 
fronted with the necessity of reading too many lengthy reports. It 
is our firm conviction that the objective and scope of the report, 
along with a summary of conclusions and recommendations, should 
be condensed to one page. Detailed and supporting evidence 
should be indexed and follow after this summary sheet. Too many 
intra-company reports are of the "For your information" type. Even 
young employees should be encouraged to make recommendations 
as well as arrive at conclusions. This one requirement will do much 
to mature their business thinking. 

Mutual Life of New York. [Suggests organization in terms of 
five-part outline.] 

I. Facts (Introduction, Scope, etc.). This division should con- 
tain a statement of the material to be covered or the project 
undertaken, and summarize briefly the subject covered. It 
should contain the elemental facts in possession of the writer 
which are essential to the subject matter. 
II. Discussion. This division should contain discussions, explana- 
tions, ideas, opinions, and comments, bearing on the contents 
of the first section. 

III. Conclusions. This division should state definitely what con- 
clusions the writer has reached in consideration of the fore- 
going facts and discussion. 

IV. Recommendations. 
V. Appendix. 

What the Colleges Can Do. 

Citizens National Trust b- Savings Bank. It is my experience as 
lawyer, trade association executive, and bank officer, that there is 
a great need in the business world for people who can express 
themselves in written form in simple, direct, and easily understood 
words. ... If the schools would concentrate on training young men 

General Readings 217 

and women to put these principles into effect they would be making 
an important contribution. Neither the subject matter of the report 
nor its form is as important as simple, straightforward exposition. 
If this is combined with a logical organization of material and a 
clear analysis of the problem, the report will indeed command 

Consolidated Edison Company of New York. It seems to me 
that there is no substitute for years of experience in high school and 
college in the study of English and writing themes. 

E. I. Du Pont de Nemours &■ Company. It is our opinion that if 
students are taught the fundamentals of good letter and report 
writing, such as clarity of expression in simple language, concise- 
ness and accuracy, they will have but little difficulty in meeting the 
requirements of business. 

First National Bank of Boston. In discussing your project with 
several of my associates, I have gathered that the following points 
would fairly represent our collective judgment as to what business- 
writing teachers should stress: (1) Organization— greater facility in 
arranging material in an order that fits the subject and the purpose 
of the report; (2) Word-sense— resourcefulness of vocabulary, to 
avoid vague, "cover-all," or stereotyped terms; (3) Sentence struc- 
ture—solid grounding in mechanics, especially subordination, transi- 
tions, and connectives. 

Hewitt-Robins, Inc. It is my personal feeling that the ability to 
express oneself orally or in writing, concisely and clearly, is one of 
the most valuable to the young college man and is one which is 
frequently lacking. A great deal has been said about the necessity 
for brevity: I would rather see brevity sacrificed in the interest of 
clarity. . . . The use of outlines or outline forms also leads to better 
understanding in reports. A good secretary-stenographer is also 
considerably helpful. ... On the whole . . . successful report writing 
is like successful public speaking in that it requires a thorough 
knowledge of the subject matter as the prime criterion. I find the 
average college man, after five years in industry, very frequently 
fails to get the correct story, the whole story or the background, 
before he sits down to present his oral or written report. Invariably 
he flounders as a result. 

Hudson Motor Car Company. If schools and colleges will only 
train students in spelling, grammar, the composition of a simple 

218 Report Writing 

and straightforward sentence, and in the art of expressing them- 
selves clearly and directly, the students will have no difficulty in 
writing proper memoranda and reports, no matter what business 
they may enter. There is nothing special about "intra-company re- 
ports." Instructions, comments and reports should obviously be writ- 
ten in clear, concise English sentences and that is all that is required, 
regardless of the subject matter. There is an appalling lack of basic 
preparation in recent college graduates almost regardless of the 
school which they attended. This is particularly true of those hav- 
ing Bachelor of Arts degrees. The scientific schools are perforce 
required to give their students more basic training and as a result 
the technical graduates are successfully invading fields in business 
other than those for which they were trained. 

Masonite Corporation. My main criticism of college graduates 
and other personnel who should qualify for executive and super- 
visory positions deals with their lack of training in the funda- 
mentals of analysis. Many seem unable to discover the important 
questions in a problem which should be answered. I believe more 
failures take place in this respect than in reporting as such. 

Standard Oil Company (Ohio). In our opinion, the most valu- 
able things to teach students who are later to enter business life 
are ability to think and ability to write good and precise English. 
If these basics are provided, it is a simple matter to train them in 
the special requirements of report writing for our particular busi- 
ness operations. 

United States Steel Corporation. Use laboratory type technique 
in teaching composition. Don't merely grade papers submitted but 
personally advise each student how to improve on what he has sub- 
mitted and then have him apply these suggestions by completely 
rewriting his manuscript. This should be followed by another period 
of personal advice and consultation. 

What Business Firms Can Do. 

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. On the B & O, we want 
reports to be clear and concise, so that the reader can quickly 
digest the information given him. Proper organization of material 
and the use of plain language help a man to write an accurate and 
complete report. Of course, a knowledge and facility in basic gram- 
mar is of first importance in any type of writing. We are not inter- 
ested in the development of "style" as such. Our executives will 

General Readings 219 

not become disinterested if business reports are not "catchy" or full 
of human interest. They will, however, become annoyed if the re- 
port is lengthy, or if the language is involved and the sentence 
structure complex. At present our company is sponsoring Read- 
ability Clinics for key employees all over the system. These read- 
ability clinics are designed to improve the writing ability of our 
employees. This is proof of our interest in getting better intra- 
company reports. 

Corning Glass Works. While we have never conducted any for- 
mal courses in report writing, we do try to keep all reports to a 
minimum. Reports are an important tool to the operation of any 
business, but they can quickly dull through unnecessary or indis- 
criminate use. Hence we urge our people to: (1) Make sure the 
report is necessary; (2) Write simply and concisely, using easy-to- 
understand words and putting the "who, what, where, when and 
why" of the subject in the fewest possible sentences; (3) Confine 
distribution of report to people who have an immediate interest in it. 

I am afraid that I haven't been very helpful and that my observa- 
tions might sound like those of a crank, but as one who receives 
entirely too many reports on every conceivable subject and from 
every conceivable kind of company, I can't help feeling that a lot 
of wasted money would be saved and wasted effort channeled to 
productive ends if the present large volume of unnecessary reports 
were eliminated. 

Dow Chemical Company. I tell our men that the reason they do 
not write better research reports is that report writing is the hardest 
work they are called upon to do. It requires real thinking to do a 
good job. I have yet to find an easy out. 

Ensco Derrick &r Equipment Company. As a matter of interest, 
we encourage our various field representatives and sales representa- 
tives to write quite detailed reports and to express themselves as 
they see fit. Quite frequently these reports have to be edited for 
general distribution; however, we feel that this policy aids us in 
developing the full thoughts and ideas being expressed by those 
whose responsibility it is to present them for consideration. 

First National Bank of Boston. As an indication of the impor- 
tance we attach to good report writing, we recently conducted a 
seminar on this subject. A member of our Personnel Department 
. . . served as discussion leader. . . . Members of the group studied 

220 Report Writing 

and discussed examples of their own work and used the Flesch 
formula as an index of readability. 

Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. We have given 
the subject of report-writing a good deal of attention in recent years 
because of the increasing importance of business reports. In one 
of our training courses, we stress the need for clearly written, 
readable reports, not only from the viewpoint of stimulating action, 
but also from the viewpoint of the impression which the reader 
receives of the writer of the report. 

You Cant Afford to Write a Poor Letter * 

A comparison of the chief physical characteristics of the Simplified 
Letter with those of the most popular "standard" letter will show 
how you can profit by a change. 

The Conventional Letter The Simplified Letter 

The date is at the far right. Why? 
The address shifts to the far left. 
All's well. 
The meaningless salutation stays 


The date is at the left— you're start- 
ing where the typewriter starts, 

The full address is at the left— 
3. The meaningless salutation stays ready for a window envelope and 

* The Simplified Letter has caused much comment, most of it favorable, since 
its introduction by the National Office Management Association in the late 
1940's. It reflects a trend toward simplification that has been increasing in 
momentum since the first World War, but it has a considerable barrier of tradi- 
tion to overcome. Though many firms use the Simplified Letter now, or some- 
thing very similar, it is unlikely that it will find complete acceptance before the 

The accompanying discussion of the Simplified Letter, reprinted by per- 
mission from a National Office Management Association leaflet, is required 
reading for any report-writer who wants to write letters that look to the future 
rather than to the past. 

General Readings 221 

put but is waste since it's not you, as permanent reference on the 

but form that dictates it. letter itself. Think of the key- 

4. To be fancy, the paragraphs are in- strokes saved by not having to re- 
dented five spaces. This job is type the address on the envelope, 
multiplied by the number of para- 3. Next the subject— at the left. A 
graphs. provocative opening and filing clue. 

5. Back to the left margin for the 4. No indentation— paragraph starts 
body of the letter. without tabular delay. 

6. Zoom! Over to the right again for 5. The typewritten signature again at 
the "complimentary" close. the left. No matter how weirdly 

7. The company name picks another the letter is signed the reader still 
spot— why use it when it's shown knows who wrote it. 

in the letterhead? E feature of this ktter {s Qn a 

8. A final zig to the left to put in the fl " le> l n a pile of papers, by lifting 
dictators initials (why?) and the ^^ , £ f thg ^ erin{ / page a 
typists to the right. little? aR ^ reference inror Lf t i n 

springs into view. Try that with a 
conventional form! 

It's Costly in Time, Money, and Good Will. A comparison such 
as this may seem to be based on unsupported opinion but here are 
the cold facts: A basic motion unit analysis of the typing alone on 
a 96-word letter proves a saving with the Simplified Letter of over 
10.7%. A saving like that can't be ignored. 

Here's our challenge: you and your secretary try the SL for 30 
days. Elect her letter-writing queen. Find out what she says after 
the tryout. Compare it with what you've found out. 

If you're a one-finger specialist, try it on your typewriter. We 
won't guarantee to promote you to two fingers but we'll bet you'll 
find the job easier and less nerve-racking. 

To what does all this add? 

1. Reduction in keystrokes— more production. 

2. Reduction in motion for positioning typewriter— more pro- 

3. Improvement in typist's morale— more production. 

The dull routine of many styles in use is removed. The type- 
writer follows its simplest mechanical course with minimum use of 
space bar, tabulator set key, tabulator bar. The letter looks as the 
typewriter was made to make it look. 

All set? Mechanically, perhaps. But what's in your letter? 
There's a good reason for the slogan: "There's more to a truly 
Simplified Letter than simply dropping 'dear' and 'yours truly.' " The 
form is important but most important is the improvement in the 
content of the business letters you write. 

222 Report Writing 

Remember to whom you're writing. Everyone who writes a 
letter, a report, a memorandum— giving, asking, or exchanging in- 
formation—is faced with a creative problem of first degree. The 
mere adoption of the Simplified Letter won't end the thinking re- 
quired in good letter writing, but the philosophy behind the Simpli- 
fied Letter formula seeks to reduce slow starting and the often 
stodgy results of production line letter writing. 

With the Simplified Letter philosophy, you can stray the least 
from a normal, friendly, relaxed type of attitude you'd use in a 
successful conversation. Instead of remembering a string of dusty 
cliches to link your thoughts together you can seek the fresh, orderly 
flow of a clear mind, informed on the subject— really pointed "To 
whom you are writing." 

At the start, instead of fumbling around, trying to decide whether 
to begin "Dear Sir, Dear Mr X, Dear Bob, or Esteemed Sir," you 
forget it altogether. 

Then comes the subject. Usually, this matter never comes up 
until you've consumed several paragraphs— state the problem or 
the point of the letter at the outset. 

Then your first sentence— all important in getting your reader 
to read. The first line of your letter— like the first handshake— is 
your introduction to your reader. Make it firm and convincing. 
Make it different— not stereotyped. Make it pertinent. 

It makes sense to plan your letters. Organize your facts in 
logical order. Follow your logic. When you've spoken your piece, 
break it off— not by a fatuous "Yours truly," but by a little reminder 
that you're you. 

Hold to firm principles of conciseness, clarity, and courteousness. 
Usually, the fewer the paragraphs the better. It may be good sense 
to use a cliche that still has meaning to the writer— as long as it's 
still lively. Like big words, don't avoid them when they spice or 
amplify your writing. Whatever tone you achieve will be the 
sound of your own thinking. 

And please be friendly. Warmth and friendliness— when dis- 
pensed with an intelligent and courteous touch— can make up other 
letter deficiencies. Adjust your faucet to the reader. Don't scald 
him. But don't give him goose pimples. 

Go as far as you can in putting a soft collar on your business 
correspondence— never write a letter without being fair to yourself 

General Readings 




rtl. k • 



Dated Today 

Ms. Office Secretary 
Better Business Letters, 
1 Main Street 
Bus/town, U.S.A. 


There's a new movement under way to take some of the monotony 
out of letters given you to type. The movement is symbolized 
by the Simplified Letter being sponsored by NOMA. 

What is it? You're reading a sample. 

Notice the left block format and the general positioning of 

the letter. We didn' t write "Dear Miss ," nor will we 

write "Yours truly" or "Sincerely yours." Are they really 
important? We feel just as friendly toward you without them. 

Notice the following points: 

1. Date location 

2. The address 

3. The subject 

h. The name of the writer 

Now take a look at the Suggestions prepared for you. Talk 
them over with your boss. But don't form a final opinion 
until you've really tried out The Letter. That's what our 
secretary did. As a matter of fact, she finally wrote most 
of the Suggestions herself. 

She says she's sold — and hopes you'll have good luck with 
better (Simplified) letters. 

cc: R. P. Brecht, W. H. Evans, H. F. Grebe 

Figure 48. The Simplified Letter. 

224 Report Writing 

and to your reader. Simplified Letters make sense— try sensible 
simplification today. 

Letters Simplified — for Secretaries. Every time you shift a type- 
writer carriage, make a keystroke or space for positioning, you con- 
sume working seconds. Every time you do one of these things 
needlessly, you reduce your production and add to fatigue. The 
Simplified Letter stresses real economy of motion for you. Its use 
results in better looking letters with less effort. It will give you 
the pride of producing more effective letters. After a fair trial- 
talk it over with your boss! 

Suggestions for Typing. 

1. Use block format. 

2. Place date in top position on left-hand margin. 

3. Type name and address in block style at least three spaces 
below date (for use in window envelope). Use abbrevi- 
ation Ms. if not sure whether to use Mrs. or Miss. This 
modern style solves an age-old problem. 

4. Omit the formal salutation. 

5. Subject should be typed in capitals at least three spaces 
below address. 

6. Use a double space between paragraphs. 

7. Indent questions, listings or like items in the body of letter 
five spaces from left-hand margin, except when preceded 
by a number or letter. 

8. Omit the complimentary close. 

9. Type name of dictator in capitals at left-hand margin at 
least five spaces below end of letter. 

10. Align initials of typist at left below the signature, if used. 

11. List, on the left-hand margin below signature, names of 
individuals who should receive carbon copies. Precede 
by cc: . 

General Readings 


A Proofreader's 

They write the same language 

KETTLE-DRUMMERS and contraltos, crooners 
and composers, Paderewski and your little 
sister who is just starting to learn piano — all 
of them read the same notes. For the system of 
myaical annotation is just as much a language 
to all people of music as English is to the people 
of America. 

So it is with the proofreaders' code of symbols. 
This code is the common language of all men 
and women who write and prepare the written 
matter we read. Editors, authors,! playwrights, 
poets, copywriters, typographers, printers, proof- 



readers, newspapermen, publishers, advertising 
managers — all know this language of proof- 

It is a language that has been used by the trade 
even as far back as Caxton and Gutenberg. It 
has evolved just as the English language has: it 
has its own slang — or corruptions of the regu- 
lar form ... it has its own modernisms ... its 
own local variations. But a typographer in far- 
off Australia would instantly comprehend the 
carets, "stets," and "deles" of a Brooklyn proof- 

Figure 49. Exercise Sheet for Proofreading. Used by permission of Cluett, 
Peabody & Co., Inc. 


Report Writing 

My friend, Joe Holmes, 
is now a horse 

JOE ALWAYS SAID when he died he'd like to 
become a horse. 

Lne day; Joe died: 

Early this May I saw a horse that looked like 
Joe drawing a milk wagon? 
I sneaked up to him and whisdered: ;;Is it 
you, Joe:" 

He said; "Yes; ind am I hap py " 

I said, "why?" 

He said, "I am now wearing a comfortable 
collar for the firts time in my life: My shirt collars 
always used to shrink and murder me, In fact; 
one choked ma to death: That is why I died " 

"Goodness, Joe," I exclaimed; "Why did t you 
tell me about yor shirts sooner? I would have 
told you about Arrow shirts: They never shrink 
out of perfect fa: Not even the oxfrods:" 

-$$$&0 lls °??~*' 

.. , -..:,„ 

"G'wan;"said Joe: "Oxford's the worst shrinker 
of all " 

Maybe," I replied, "but not Gordon, the 
Arrow oxford: I know. I,m wearing one, It's 
Sanforized, labeled —can't shrink even 1% Be* 
sides, it has Arrow's unique Mit Oga tailored fit ! 
And," I sadir eaching a crescendo; "Gordon comes 
with plain or button-down collar!" 

"Swell;" said Joe. "My 
needs boss a shirt like 
that: I'll teli him about 
Gordon: Maybe hee'll 
me give an extra quart 
fo oats. And, gosh, do 

, , „ // 1 hmtnU an Arrow Lobe 

I love oats u UnU „ Arnm sw» 




Sanforized -Labeled — a new shirt free if one shrinks out of fit 

Made by Cluctt, Pea body & Co.. Inc. 

Figure 49— Continued. 

General Readings 


Exercise Sheet for Proofreading * 

This ad [Fig. 49 on opposite page] contains 60 typographical 
errors ( more or less ) . Can you spot them? 

Obviously this ad would never be released even from the most 
amateurish typographer's shop. If it were, it would be his last. 
We have incorporated practically all the errors in the book in this 
setting merely to provide you with pied (disarranged) copy, so 
that you can try your hand in specifying corrections by using the 
proofreader's symbols. 

Proofreader's Marks 

^^ Change bad letters ^ Close up entirely S/ Hyphen ^*AA Let it- stand 

^t0 Push down space Qj Period 

^3* Straighten lines ^ ■ ' Run on 

3 Turn 

f/ Comma 

^ OflSaMore over •<*■■» Diphthong 

^^ Take out (dele) 

&} Colon 

Q Em -quad space Qu^ft Arrow jshirts 
Yff^ One -em dash ^ j* Small caps 
ff Lower case ^Sk> Align type 
**» (small letters) f^ Query ; is copy right ? 
\jfejt Italics Out. see copy 
*Qjm Roman ^m> Take out and close up 

^ Left out ; Insert 
«•• Insert space 

^TN Semicolon 
\j/ Apostrophe 

MfV Even spacing 

^fJ Quotation 
• \ Parentheses 
""^V» Transpose 

wM Paragraph 
Vl//) Wrong font 

* Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc., prepared the accompanying Exercise Sheet 
for Proofreading and the explanatory pages following it so that apprentice 
proofreaders or anyone interested in learning how proofreading works could 
get some practice looking for errors, marking them, and checking their work 
against the corrected copy. How many of the 60 errors can you find? 


Report Writing 

General Explanation 

THE original text or copy of an advertisement is submitted to 
the client in typewritten form with the layout. The client's copy 
changes are cleared with the agency copywriter and, if approved, are 
incorporated in the text. The copy is then turned over to the produc- 
tion man together with the layout. He then has the type specialist 
"specify" type. The copy is sent to the typographer for the original 
setting. First proofs are read in the agency for typographical and 
grammatical errors, marked up and returned to the typographer for 
revision. Revised proofs are re-read by the agency and, if satisfac- 
tory, submitted to the client for his final approval. 



X Change bad letters 

3 Close up entirely =y Hyphen 

J-* Push down space 

O Period 

=^ Straighten lines 

9 Turn 

/ Comma 

] «L Move over 

<J Take out (dde) 

O Colon 

U Em-quad space 

A Left out; insert 

(T) Semicolon 

/£*. One-em dash 

=#=" Insert space 

XV' Apostrophe 

Jto. Lower case 

A * vv Even spacing 

ty Quotation 

(small letters) 

HI Paragraph 

( ) Parentheses 

ital. Italics 

M^. Wrong font 

Xaj Transpose 

Kjorrv. Roman 

oXk£ Let it stand 

Cafaa Arrow shirts 

(9) Query; is copy right? 

c — D Run on 

S. C Small caps 

Out, see copy 

*-* Diphthong 

i i 

or Align type 

*&, Take out and dose up 

These are the symbol 

s used by the proofreader to indicate corrections to be 

made in the type setting. These marks are standard for all writers of books, 

' newspapers, magazines, legal documents, advertising, or what have you. 

Figure 49— Continued. 

General Readings 


My friend, Joe Holmes, 
is now a horse 


become a horse. 
JT(^ t ^ne"<L>y> Joe died:'"© 

Early this May I saw a horse that looked like 
(•) Joe drawing a milk wagon? Q^**7 

□ A I sneaked up to him and whisaeredf ;;Is it 


"G'wan;"said Joe: "Oxford's the worst shrinker £&* 

ffivlaybe," I replied, "but not Gordon, thj^— — Q» 
{ijXrrow oxford!' I know. I .m wearing one. 1 It's \ 



Sanforized.lahelcd— can't shrink even 1%<B 

CjA.1 said, "why? 
tfj. He said, HI am now wearing a comfortable 

sides, it has Arrowj unique MiQ jga ta 
^nd^JjajJJrQ^chihg a crescendoji'Gor 

with plain or button-down collar 
■^.co llar for tht firt^time in my life,: My shirt collars^ "Swell-"saidJoe."My $ 
' always used to shrink and murder me. In fact;" filgeds Lboss, a shirt like tn. ARROW 
*v one choked mi to death; That is why I died "4 that* I'll tell hii 

ilorecftit! |C . , 
^'Gordon comes ^"**CC/ 

^Goodness, Jo 

,^p ....... .„ — j . — ~y»IT ~ ln3Ll 1 i u leu mm aDOUt 

exclaimedj_ "Why didQt you ^Gordon! Maybe he elll a ^ 
*o*0*}^i£lL me about y^ r shirts sooner? I would have^.'meTeivei an extra quart 
™ l§ ^"tola you about Arrow shirts : *J[hey never s hrink ^ fo. oats. And, gosh, do / 


out of perjecl fit: Not^yen the ox frod s: ' l_ I love oatSy^ « isn't a» Arrow Skin 


Sanforize d-Labeled — a new shirt free if one shrinks out of fit 

Made by Clu.u. Pt.body & Co.. Inc. 


Obviously this ad would never be released even from the most amateurish typog- 
rapher's shop. If it were,it would be his last. We have incorporated practically all 
the errors in the book in this setting merely to show how they are designated. 
Incidentally there are four or five typographical errors which are not indicated 
—can you $pot them? 

Figure 49— Continued. 


Report Writing 

My friend, Joe Holmes, 
is now a horse 

JoE ALWAiS SAID when he died he'd 
like to become a horse. 

One day Joe died. 

Early this May I saw a horse that looked 
like Joe drawing a milk wagon. 

I sneaked up to him and whispered, "Is it 
yon, Joe?" 

He said, "Yes, and am I happy!" 

I said, "Why?" 

He said, "I am now wearing a comfortable 
collar for the first time in my life. My shirt 
collars always used to shrink and murder 
me. In fact, one choked me to death. That 
is why I died!" 

"Goodness, Joe," I exclaimed, "Why didn't 
you tell me about your shirts sooner? I 
would have told you about Arrow shirts. 
They never shrink out of perfect fit. Not 
even the oxfords." 

"G'wan," said Joe. "Oxford's the worst 
shrinker of all!" 

"Maybe," I replied, "but not Gordon, the 
Arrow oxford. I know. I'm wearing one. It's 
Sanforized-labeled — can't shrink even \%\ 
Besides, it has Arrow's unique Mitoga tail* 
ored fit! And," I said reaching a crescendo, 
"Cordon comes with plain or bulfon-down 

"Swell," said Joe. 
"My boss needs a shirt 
like that. I'll tell him 
about Gordon. Maybe 
he'll give me an extra 
quart of oats. And, 
gosh, do I love oats!" 


m » 


Sanforized Labeled — a new shirt free if one shrinks out of fit 

Mule t» Clucil. Pe.bod, & Co.. loo 


This is the way the ad looks after the corrections have 
been made and plates are ready for the publications. 

litho in U. S. A. 

Figure 49— Concluded. 

Chapter 13 


Make a Map to Guide Your Writing * 
by Hilary H. Milton 

Editor, 3300th Training Publications Squadron 
St. Louis, Missouri 

"This piece of training literature reminds me of the cowboy who 
got on his horse and rode off in all directions!" 

Did you ever have such a thought while you were reading a 
training project outline or a training manual? Further, did you try 
to understand why the writing left that impression? 

Maybe you have and maybe you haven't. But chances are that 
if you had examined the text closely, you'd have noticed the absence 
of good organization. 

In discussing writing improvement, many of us have talked about 
such things as direct style, active verbs, simple sentences, familiar 
words, and the like. But all too often we distort the problem be- 
cause we fail to consider the basis of any good written piece: 

Very few things can mean as much to the success of a good 
manual or Training Project Outline ( TPO ) ( Student study guide ) 
as the way it is organized. In fact, nothing else has as much to do 

* Quoted by permission from an Air Force Informational Bulletin published 
at Scott Air Force Base; this material later adapted by Mr. Milton to form part 
of the ATRC Manual How To Prepare ATRC Training Literature. Hilary 
Milton is an Alabama product, with two degrees from and several years' teaching 
experience at the University of Alabama. He organized and conducted the first 
airmen-editor's writing training program in the Air Force, and is now Editor, 
Training Publications Unit, Headquarters Air Training Command, St. Louis. 
Along with the ATRC Manual mentioned above and other Air Force literature, 
he produces fiction and poetry as the spirit moves him. 


232 Report Writing 

with unity and coherence. We can use easily read sentences; we 
can choose words that are familiar to the reader; we can eliminate 
unnecessary adjectives; and we can "write in a conversational style" 
until the cows come home. But if we do not plan the way the mate- 
rial should unfold to the reader, then we cannot expect him to follow 
the writing. 

Actually, an outline is the map that will take you on your writing 
journey; it is the device that guides you from the first word you 
write until you have completed the entire manuscript. 

Let's think about how we can make a writer's map— how we can 
organize and outline our writing so the reader is able to follow it. 
You can establish a good outline by: 

considering the purpose and scope of the writing 

considering the readers 

choosing a specific working title 

selecting a method of approach 

making a preliminary list of major topics 

arranging these according to the method of approach 

putting under each major topic the subtopics which fit the 

giving all topics specific captions. 

Purpose and Scope of Writing. The first step an author should 
take before he begins to organize or write material is to determine 
the purpose of his manuscript. He may intend for the finished prod- 
uct to teach; he may mean for it to direct a program; he may want 
it to give advice; or he may simply mean for it to give information. 
Again, he may want it to motivate readers— students, instructors, or 
supervisors. Actually, in many cases he will probably intend for it 
to perform two or more of these services. But whatever the purpose 
is, the writer should know it so that he can fit his material to it. 

Also, the writer should know the scope of the material he intends 
to write. If he is working within a limited scope, say a piece that 
should run two to three thousand words, he will know that a brief 
outline will serve satisfactorily. On the other hand, if he intends to 
cover a complex area, he should have a detailed outline that reflects 
careful organization. For example, if an author plans to write a 

Organizing Facts and Ideas— Readings 233 

complete manual on a topic such as "The Basic Principles of Aircraft 
Structure," he knows that he needs a carefully worked-up outline. 

Many of us tend to disregard the matter of scope when we or- 
ganize a piece of writing. We brush the idea aside by saying 
casually, "Its scope should be limited," or "It should have complete 
coverage." Such statements lead you to the scope, but they do not 
spell it out. We'd all be better off if we wrote out in specific terms 
the scope of our material at the same time that we write out the 
detailed purpose. 

Prospective Readers. Once you have identified the purpose and 
scope of your writing, your next step is to define your audience. 
Again, you should write out a general description of the people who 
will likely read the material. Specifically, you should answer such 
questions as these: 

Who will read this material? Airmen? Officers? Airmen and 
officers? Students? Operators? 

Have they had previous training? For instance, have they been 
to a technical school? Have they had certain types of civilian 
school training? 

What is the approximate education level of these readers? 

How technical can the information be for these people? 

How strongly motivated are the readers? 

Of course, this list does not include all the questions you should ask 
when you define your audience. But these and others like them 
will help you to know things about the prospective readers— and thus 
to know how to organize and outline the material you're writing. 

Actually, this idea of defining your audience isn't anything new. 
We've been working at it for a long time. Our curriculum planning, 
our course scheduling, and our manual writing in the Air Training 
Command (ATRC) have all been slanted toward the needs and 
qualifications of the "audience." But here, as with the defined scope 
and the detailed purpose, we've tended to generalize: "The readers 
have reached an educational level somewhere near the 8th ( or 10th, 
or 12th) grade." "They don't know anything about this stuff," or 
"They've been through a basic course." But seldom do we get down 
to specifics where our readers are concerned. And all too often our 
writing reflects our vagueness on the audience subject. 

234 Report Writing 

Frankly, we'd just as well face the fact here and now as some- 
where else and later on: If we don't define our audience, if we don't 
find out things about our readers, we cannot write to suit their needs 
or to suit their reading abilities. 

When you set out to organize and outline a piece of writing, then, 
make sure that you learn some definite facts about your audience. 
Don't rely on guesswork; and whatever you do, don't dismiss the 
matter with a lot of vague generalities. 

Specific Working Title. After you have established your purpose 
and scope and have identified your audience, you must next choose 
a clearly worded, definite working title. 

"That's simple," someone may say. "I'm writing about engines, 
so I'll just call the book 'Engines'." 

The person who casually gives a title to a long piece of writing 
will probably give the whole manuscript the same kind of treatment. 
If he doesn't give his proposed project enough thought to select 
a clear, definitive title, chances are he'll be just as indefinite with 
his writing. 

Let's just analyze the casual "Engines" statement. 

In the first place the man has no intention of writing about 
engines. If he did, he'd have to deal with automobile engines, air- 
craft engines, stationary engines, aircooled engines, water cooled 
engines, jet engines, reciprocal engines, Diesel engines, and a host 
of others. Furthermore, he'd have to write basic facts, advanced 
theories, description of all working parts, how elements work, and 
how to repair all the various types. In short, he'd have to write an 

That is, if he's being honest with his readers. 

Of course, we know the man who gives his writing a title such as 
"Engines" or "Aircraft" doesn't mean that he'll cover all the aspects 
that come under the title. So why would he want to use such a title 
in the first place? Why not spend a little time and thought and 
come up with something meaningful? 

A good working title does two things : first, it tells you what your 
writing will include; and, second, it omits those things which you 
will not include. In other words, your working title should com- 
pletely box you in and put a fence around your considerations. 
To make this point clearer, let's take "Engines" and develop a work- 
ing title which the writer can really use. 

Organizing Facts and Ideas— Readings 235 

If we have just the one word, we could illustrate it with a straight 
line, like this: 

There's no clearly defined point of beginning and no limit at all; 
like a straight line that runs around the world, the title could run 
from here to eternity. 

Suppose, though, that we add the word jet to the title. Our 
diagram would now look something like this: 

f: H 

By this simple addition we have excluded many topics which the 
word engines alone might cover. Specifically, we have eliminated 
Diesels, reciprocating engines, radial engines, and automobile en- 
gines ( since we do not use jets in automobiles at the present time ) . 

However, the writer might still have a lot of liberty because he 
could talk about how to repair jet engines, what they consist of, or 
which principles they employ. Also, he could go from very simple 
to very complex treatments of the title. So right now he's bound 
by only two sides of a fence. 

Now, suppose we add another word to the title: "Principles." 
The illustration changes somewhat, and it looks something like this: 

236 Report Writing 

That additional word puts boundaries on three sides of the writer. 
In other words, by adding principles we've eliminated the possibility 
of the writer's talking about how to repair jet engines and what they 
consist of. If he stays within these limits he can discuss only the 
principles that govern the jet engine's operation. 

However, one side of the fence will still allow him to "break 
through." The author can talk about the simple principles, or he 
can talk about the most advanced theories if he wishes. So we need 
to "build another wall." 

We can do that by adding the word basic. Now the fence is 

:> ' ' 


Once a writer has bound himself in, he will stay within the limits 
if he intends to be honest with his readers. 

True enough, the title seems simple in this example; but you can 
follow the same process when you choose any title for any piece. 
Consider this one: "How to Overhaul Reciprocating Engines." The 
four variables of this title put the four sections of the fence around 
the writer. Remove How to, Overhaul, Reciprocating, or Engines 
and you've changed the title. 

Just as an experiment, why not try this business of making a good 
working title? Take any topic you can think of— aircraft, for in- 
stance—and see how you can fence yourself in. 

Selecting A Method of Approach. Once you've chosen your title, 
you should next select the method of approach to use with your 
particular piece of writing. As you may already know you can 
present your material according to the time-sequence method, the 
logical method, or the psychological method. 

Time Sequence. The time-sequence method really needs little 
explanation here. It simply means that you begin at the beginning 
and present your information according to the time of occurrence. 
For example, if you intended to write about the growth of the Air 
Force, about the history of a particular program's development, or 
about a man's progress, you'd follow the time-sequence method. If 

Organizing Facts and Ideas— Readings 237 

you are writing a manual which should bring reservists up to date 
on a particular topic, this method of approach would serve you well. 
Actually, however, the time-sequence plan has certain limitations. 
For one thing, it doesn't emphasize any one part of the writing. 
For another, it does not allow you to apply your data or your in- 
formation. And often it will not hold your reader unless the style 
appeals to him. 

Logical Method. The logical method is similar to the time- 
sequence method in that it moves from one point to another in a 
first-second-third-fourth order. However, the logical method does 
have the advantage of letting you pause along the way and integrate 
your materials. And it does help you to include details which the 
time-sequence method doesn't allow. 

Many writers find the logical method quite helpful when they 
wish to give all the details of an experiment, when they want to 
show every part of an analysis, or when they want to teach readers 
how to repair equipment. 

Once more, however, the logical method doesn't allow room for 
emphasis nor does it allow you to shift from one part of your ex- 
planation to an unrelated section or topic without confusing your 
reader. You may find it helpful if you know that your audience can 
follow you or if you are presenting fairly simple information. But 
if you plan to introduce a lot of new terms— equipment or techniques 
—you may find that the logical plan won't satisfy your needs. 

Psychological Method. The psychological arrangement, last 
of the three, leads you to present your information in an order that 
is neither chronological nor logical (as we defined logical). With 
this method you may go from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from 
the simple to the difficult, from basic principles to complex theories. 
Also, this method allows you more leeway when you want to present 
material in a reader-appeal manner. 

With much of our writing, particularly the training literature 
side of it, we should follow the psychological method. For example, 
a piece of writing that teaches a man how to operate (not repair) 
equipment would help the reader if presented according to this 

Many writers have found that the psychological method helps 
them present material in various stages. For example, they have 
used this arrangement when they want to tell their readers how to do 

238 Report Writing 

a particular thing, what happens when they do it, and why it 

We can say, then, that the psychological method becomes quite 
useful to the man who writes training literature as well as to the 
one who writes almost any type of motivational material. 

Actually, though, when you get down to it, you'll probably find 
that a combination of two or more methods will help you better than 
any one of them by itself. That's all right. Nobody's going to pin 
you down to only one. But if you recognize the various methods, 
and if you know the purpose of your writing, you can do a better 
job of organizing. 

Preliminary List of Topics. As the fifth step on preparing this 
writer's map, make a preliminary list of the major topics which you 
should include. Such a list usually becomes a chapter breakdown; 
so as you write down the topics, be sure to include all the major 
areas that need treatment. For example, if you intended to write a 
training manual on automotive maintenance, you might list such 
topics as these: 

: -: ■■■■;;■ v ■ 

, ' '• <r 1'. 

"■' 2, -.,-■, .". ■ ' ■■'■; 

; "<„., v» r- .. h 

' iH'iM&A . " : vs ■:'-;v. : v : ' v: / ""/■':.. ';'■§ 
UK' ' '411 

At this point neither the wording nor the arrangement represents 
the final working approach. You're still a long way from the outline 
you'll need to guide the actual writing. But this topic list does 
become the first concrete step in making the outline. 

Many writers like to support these major topics with certain 
important subtopics at the time they make this list. For example 
they may want to add to the list certain must items : 



foe ' . ■ . 

, t*tet 

Organizing Facts and Ideas— Readings 239 

This expanded list still doesn't represent the working outline; but it 
helps to identify points that the writer means to include in that 

Arrange Topics According to Method of Approach. After you've 
listed all the major topics which you need to include in your manual 
( or report or Training Project Outline ) , you must next put these into 
the sequence you've decided to use. As we mentioned earlier, this 
sequence depends on the purpose of the writing, the audience to 
which you're addressing the material, and the scope of the work. 

When we get to this stage of the game, many of us tend to put 
topics into almost any order that seems reasonable. But often the 
thing that seems reasonable doesn't satisfy all the needs. So we 
should give a lot of thought to the plan because the success of the 
whole thing often depends on the order of presentation. 

To make that thought clearer, just consider the topics we've 
listed. If you began your maintenance book with a section on 
"movable parts," then followed it with one on "internal combustion," 
the reader would very likely be confused. However, if you began 
with a discussion of "internal combustion," explaining the theories 
and principles, then rearranged the other topics to follow a logical 
order, you'd help the reader. 

Let's put these topics in an order that would really lead the 
average reader through an orderly sequence of thoughts: 

Housing ass*»% 
M<*v«y*. parts. ' 

?««i System 
igaftiaft system 
lyferkcfiing System 


The arrangement here will help the reader to understand auto- 
motive maintenance practices and procedures. Take a moment to 
examine the plan and you'll see why. 

Subtopics. Once you have the arrangement set up according 
to the plan that seems most useful, you next want to put under each 
major topic all the subtopics that you intend to discuss, in the order 
in which you mean to discuss them. At this point you're getting 
down to details, and you can no longer generalize. In the earlier 
steps you looked at the "broad picture," but in the final analysis the 

240 Report Writing 

supporting sections will determine the success or failure of your 
efforts. So right here you must give serious thought to the necessary 

To emphasize this idea, let's just take one of the major topics and 
subdivide it: 

Ty^ex el systems 


V - 


: mm% ■" • 


WimBk^: :: . v.. ... .. .... .-^./S 

These subtopics and sub-subtopics become the supporting sec- 
tions and subsections within the chapter. Your identifying them in 
the outline tells you that you must include them in your finished 

Perhaps you'd like to go farther in your breakdown than our 
outlined chapter indicates. Fine! Go ahead. The more detailed 
you make your working outline, the more complete you'll make your 
manual or long report. After all, that's one of the purposes of a 
good outline; it identifies the sections you intend to include and 
gives the order of presentation for those sections. 

Your seventh step in organizing and making a good working 
outline, then, is to list in order all the subtopics and sub-subtopics 
which you'll need to give detail and support to your various chapter 

Give All Topics Specific Captions. The final step is to give 
specific wording to all the captions, major as well as minor ones. 
Many of us tend to ignore this step in our outlining; most of us 
think that if we merely name the point to be discussed, we have 
satisfied the demands of an outline. So we blithely give a caption 
such wording as "Generator," "Carburetor," "Oil Pumps," and dis- 
miss the point. We justify such casual treatment by saying, "Oh, I 
know what I want to say on carburetors," or "There's nothing much 
to be said about oil pumps, anyway." Such dismissal indicates the 
lack of real thought on the part of the planner. Furthermore, it may 
probably lead to some confused thinking later on. 

Organizing Facts and Ideas— Readings 241 

When we get down to the writing job, we tend to forget some of 
the points we knew we'd remember at the time we made the outline. 
We may have intended to explain how to repair a carburetor when 
we wrote out the topic; but three months later, when we get to that 
part of our plan, we don't remember whether to talk about how to 
repair the carburetor, what the carburetor does, or how it works. 

We can avoid such confusion by using concrete terms with our 
topics while we're making the outline. Specifically, we can improve 
the outlines by giving our topics one of' three types of captions: 
informative, instructive, or directive. 

To help you recognize— and use— these captions in the right way, 
suppose we point out some concrete examples. First, let's look 
at informative captions : 

for>:«-j>W «'«?*;.« 'M»:^ - ' 

Fufl-fWc-Feed Sy»f»m Daei No? U*» Sptaih 
Th* „ ~-n< Ha 

-. .. /:«..•• c- Ivhrksm 
Qti Shotma PC*js trash esrf *»fj%np 

0,1 >.«*„.>. a*a*oa 

C™4c«h Verf-, .-mat 


Lubrication Systems Preserve Parts and Cool Engines. 

Informative captions like these do two things for the writer: They 
synopsize the material which they introduce, and they tell the writer 
what approach to use when he gets to the various parts of the 
outline. They tell him to describe the work of the particular unit. 

Instructive captions, on the other hand, tell the writer he should 
emphasize "how-to-do" a certain task. For example, notice these 
captions : 

i H»W"fc> R*jf*6Jr Psert* o# «» Oil $y*t«5*» ■■. 

How t&fw 0% Pumps • .'■'■.--' 

Rajaafr Ghsgax This Way 
■ . £Sy*r&*tt>l &?&m®ric }x Thfa MsmtHft 

V i*te) ' ;" - : .* .;■ 

Emphasis in these captions is on how to fix equipment, not what the 
various elements do. 

The directive type of caption has some similarity to the instructive 
type, but it goes one step further. It tells the reader what to do. 

242 Report Writing 

Such captions in an outline should tell the writer what approach 
to use in his writing. 

To get a better understanding of directive captions, suppose we 
glance at the headings throughout this article. The overall title of 
the paper tells you to make an outline that will map your writing 
journey. The subordinate headings support that title and tell you 
the steps involved in making the outline. 

The type of caption you use will depend on the purpose of your 
writing, the audience, and the slant of the text. But whichever you 
choose, be sure to give every major heading and all the subheadings 
specific wording; make certain that they synopsize the material 
they introduce; and give them the same slant that the writing will 

Again, Outline Your Writing Project. When you have a writing 
assignment, then, follow some definite steps to outline the task. 
Specifically, you should 

consider the purpose 

remember the readers 

get a good title 

choose the method of approach 

make a list of topics 

arrange these in a definite order 

support major topics with subtopics 

and give all the topics specifically worded captions. 

These steps may not absolutely guarantee unity in the writing be- 
cause you still have to put words into sentences and sentences into 
paragraphs. But if you organize your material and make a clear, 
mapping outline at the very beginning, you'll do much to help your 
reader follow a clear line of reasoning throughout the text. 

Chapter 14 


Our 'National Mania for Correctness * 
by Donald J. Lloyd 

Every now and then the editors of the university presses let ou* 
a disgruntled bleat about the miserable writing done by scholars, 
even those who are expert in literary fields; and from time to time 
there are letters and editorials in our national reviews bewailing 
some current academic malpractice with the English language. At 
present, even PMLA (the Publications of the Modern Language 
Association), traditionally the repository of some of the worst writ- 
ing done by researchers, is trying to herd its authors toward more 
lucid exposition. And at two recent meetings of the august Mediae- 
val Academy, one at Boston and one at Dumbarton Oaks, bitter re- 
marks were passed about the failure of specialists in the Middle Ages 
to present their findings in some form palatable to the general reader, 
so that he can at least understand what they are writing about. 

Even admitting that a really compelling style is the result of 
years of cultivation, much scholarly writing is certainly worse than 
it needs to be. But it is not alone in this. Generally speaking, the 
writing of literate Americans whose primary business is not writing 
but something else is pretty bad. It is muddy, backward, con- 
voluted and self-strangled; it is only too obviously the product of a 
task approached unwillingly and accomplished without satisfaction 
or zeal. Except for the professionals among us, we Americans are 
hell on the English language. I am not in touch with the general 
run of British writing by non-professionals, but I suspect that is 
nothing to make those islanders smug, either. 

* Reprinted by permission from The American Scholar, Summer, 1952. Dr. 
Lloyd teaches at Wayne University; he has just written an admirable new 


244 Report Writing 

Furthermore, almost any college professor, turning the spotlight 
with some relief from himself and his colleagues to his students, 
will agree that their writing stinks to high heaven, too. It is a rare 
student who can write what he has to write with simplicity, lucidity 
and euphony, those qualities singled out by Somerset Maugham; 
far more graduating seniors are candidates for a remedial clinic 
than can pass a writing test with honors. And freshmen writing is 
forever the nightmare of the teachers of composition, as it would 
be of their colleagues if the latter could not escape to the simple 
inanities of their objective tests. 

Yet it was not always so. I have on my desk a little manuscript 
from the fourteenth century written by an unknown author, which 
I am in the process of editing. When I read it to one of my classes, 
as I occasionally do, with no more modernization than my own 
Great Lakes pronunciation and the substitution of a word for one 
which has become obsolete, it is a simple, clear and engaging docu- 
ment. "Where is any man nowadays that asketh how I shall love 
God and my fellow-Christians?" it begins. "How I shall flee sin 
and serve God truly as a true Christian man should? What man is 
there that will learn the true law of God, which he biddeth every 
Christian man to keep upon pain of damnation in hell without 
end? . . . Unnethe [scarcely] is there any lewd man or lewd woman 
that can rightly well say his Pater Noster, his Ave Maria, and his 
Creed, and sound the words out readily as they should. But when 
they play Christmas games about the fire, therein will they not fail. 
Those must be said out without stumbling for dread of smiting. But 
if a lewd man should be smited now for each failing that he maketh 
in saying of his Pater Noster, his Ave Maria, and his Creed, I trowe 
he should be smited at the full." And so on, to the beautiful poetic 
line, "Then think it not heavy to dwell with thy mother in her wide 
house, thou that laist in the strait chamber of her womb." The 
spelling in the original is hectic, and the capitalization and punctua- 
tion sporadic, to say the least. 

Yet there was a man who knew what he had to say and set out 
about saying it, with no nonsense and no fumbling. He aimed for 
his audience and, judging by the dog-ears and sweat-marks on the 
book, which is about the size of one of our pocket books, he hit it. 
Why cannot we do as well in our time? Indeed, the eighteenth 
century was about the last age in which almost any man, if he was 
literate at all, could set down his thoughts— such as they were— so 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 245 

that they did not have to be excavated by the reader. We have an 
abundance of letters, diaries, pamphlets, and other papers from that 
period, and they are well written. It was the age, we may recall, 
not only of Boswell and Johnson, but of Pepys and Franklin as well, 
and of a host of other men whose main legacy to us was a simple, 
direct, workmanlike style, sufficient to the man and to the occasion, 
which said what it had to say and said it well. With the end of 
that century we go into the foggy, foggy darkness, and God knows 
whether we shall ever find our way out of it— as a people, that is, 
as a nation of thinking men and women with something to say. 

Nevertheless, there is no question what makes our writing bad, 
or what we shall have to do to better it. We shall simply have to 
isolate and root out a monomania which now possesses us, which 
impedes all language study and inhibits all mastery of our native 
tongue— all mastery, that is, on paper; for as speakers of English, we 
Americans are loving and effective cultivators of our expression. I 
recall the gas station attendant who was filling my car. The gaso- 
line foamed to the top of the tank, and he shut off the pump. 
"Whew!" I said, "that nearly went over." "When you see white- 
caps," he replied, "you better stop." "You better had," I said, lost 
in admiration. But if you had given him a pencil, he would have 
chewed the end off before he got one word on paper. 

The demon which possesses us is our mania for correctness. It 
dominates our minds from the first grade to the graduate school; it 
is the first and often the only thing we think of when we think of 
our language. Our spelling must be "correct"— even if the words are 
ill-chosen; our "usage" must be "correct"— even though any possible 
substitute expression, however crude, would be perfectly clear; 
our punctuation must be "correct"— even though practices surge 
and change with the passing of years, and differ from book to book, 
periodical to periodical. Correct! That's what we've got to be, 
and the idea that we've got to be correct rests like a soggy blanket 
on our brains and our hands whenever we try to write. 

This mania for correctness is another legacy from the eighteenth 
century, but it did not get a real grip on us until well into the nine- 
teenth. Its power over us today is appalling. Among my other 
tasks, I teach advanced courses in the English language to students 
preparing to teach. Most of these are seniors and graduate stu- 
dents, and in the summer especially, there is a sprinkling of older 
men and women, experienced teachers, who are sweating out a 

246 Report Writing 

master's degree. They have had courses in "English" throughout 
their schooling. But of the nature and structure of the English 
language, the nature of language habits, the relation of speech to 
writing, and the differences in usage which arise from dialect and 
from differing occupational and educational demands— of all these, 
they know nothing at all. Nor do they come to me expecting to 
learn about these. They want to know two things: what correct 
usage is and how you beat it into the kids' heads. That there are 
other considerations important to an English teacher is news to 
many of them. What they get from me is a good long look at their 

To trace this monolithic concentration on usage is to pursue a 
vicious circle, with the linguists on the outside. The literate public 
seems to get it from the English teachers, and the teachers get it 
from the public. The attitudes and pronouncements on language 
of a Jacques Barzun, a Wilson Follett, a Bernard De Voto, or a 
Norman Lewis ("How Correct Must Correct English Be?") mean 
more to English teachers than anything said by the most distin- 
guished professional students of language— such as Leonard Bloom- 
field, Robert Hall or Charles Carpenter Fries. Correct usage is 
pursued and discussed, furthermore, without much reference to the 
actual writing of literary men. Now and again I amuse myself by 
blue-penciling a current magazine such as the Saturday Review or 
Collier's against the rules. I have to report that error is rampant, 
if variation is to be considered error. The boys just don't seem to 
pay attention to the rules. Moreover, having seen some of their 
first drafts, I am pretty sure that what conformity they do display 
is the work of their wives, secretaries, editors, proofreaders and 
typesetters, rather than their own. It takes a determined effort to 
beat the old Adam out of a readable manuscript. 

Thus it is only the determined, consciously creative professional 
who can build his work on the actual language of men. In a recent 
issue of the Saturday Review, I stumbled on a quotation from Wolf- 
gang Langewiesche. "Well, it isn't crowned by no castle, that's for 
sure," he wrote, "and by no cathedral either." My eyes popped, 
and I read it again. I liked it. It looked right; it sounded right; 
it had a fine Chaucerian swing to it. But I bet it cost him some 
blood and a fifth of Scotch to get it into print. In my own limited 
publication, I find "a historical" changed to "an historical," all my 
"further's" changed to "farther" and all my "farther's" to 'further," 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 247 

"than us" watered down to "than we," and many, many more. How 
E. M. Forster got by with "the author he thinks," and got it re- 
printed in a freshman handbook a few pages along from the pro- 
hibition of such locutions baffles me. A phony standardization of 
usage appears in print, the work of editors unconscious of the ulti- 
mate meaning of what they do. 

The result of all this is that a wet hand of fear rests on the heart 
of every nonprofessional writer who merely has a lot of important 
knowledge to communicate. He writes every sentence with a self- 
conscious horror of doing something wrong. It is always a comfort 
to him if he can fit himself into some system, such as that of a 
business or governmental office which provides him with a model. 
It is thus that gobbledygook comes into being. I once braced a 
distinguished sociologist, a student of occupational myths and atti- 
tudes, about the convoluted, mainly nominal turgidity of his writing. 
He apparently admitted verbs into his sentences the way we admit 
DP's into the United States, reluctantly and with pain. In speech 
he was racy, confident and compelling, a brilliant lecturer. "It's 
the only way I can get my work into the periodicals," he told me 
blandly. "If it's clear and simple, they don't think it's scholarly." 
With what relief the pedagogues subside into pedagese! 

If we really want to get good writing from people who know 
things, so that we can come to learn what they know as easily as we 
learn from their talk, we can do it in a generation or so. In school 
and out, in print and out, we can leave usage to its natural nurse, 
the unforced imitation of the practices which are actually current 
among educated people. We can use our English courses in school 
and college, not to give drill on questionable choices among com- 
mon alternatives, demanding that one be taken as right and the 
others as wrong, but to give practice in reading and writing. We 
can learn to read and write for the idea, and for the idea without 
regard for anything else. Then our young people will come to 
maturity confidently using their pencils to find out what they think 
and get it down on paper; then our scholars will come to write 
simply, clearly and brilliantly what they brilliantly know. 

In our speech we have arrived, I think, at a decency of discourse 
which is conducive to effective expression. We listen, with a grave 
courteous attention, to massive patterns of speaking different from 
our own because they come from differences in dialect and social 
status; we listen without carping and without a mean contempt. 

248 Report Writing 

Furthermore, we participate; we go with a speaker through halts 
and starts, over abysses of construction, filling in the lacunae with- 
out hesitation; we discount inadvertencies and disregard wrong 
words, and we arrive in genial good will with the speaker at his 
meaning. In this atmosphere, our speech has thrived, and the ordi- 
nary American is in conversation a confident, competent expressive 
being. In writing he is something else again. 

No one flourishes in an atmosphere of repression. It is possible, 
of course, for a person with special aptitudes and a special drive to 
bull his way past the prohibitions and achieve an individual style. 
But with the negative attitude that attends all our writing, those 
whose main interest lies elsewhere are inhibited by fear of "error" 
and the nagging it stirs up from setting pen to paper, until the 
sight of a blank white page gives them the shakes. It is no wonder 
that their expression is halting and ineffective. They cannot fulfill 
the demands of a prissy propriety and trace the form of an idea at 
the same time. Thus they arrive at adulthood victims of the steely 
eye of Mr. Sherwin Cody, whose bearded face stares at them from 
the countless ads for his correspondence school, demanding, "Do 
YOU make these mistakes in English?" The locutions he lists are not 
mistakes, and Mr. Cody knows they are not; but his readers do not 
know it, and they do not know that they don't matter anyway. 

For usage doesn't matter. What matters is that we get done 
what we have to do, and get said what we have to say. Sufficient 
conformity is imposed upon us by the patterns of our language and 
by the general practice of its users so that we do not have to run 
the idea of conformity into the ground by carping about trivial 
erratics in expression. Why in this matter of language alone com- 
plete conformity should be considered a virtue— except to typists, 
printers and typesetters— it is difficult to see (unless, perhaps, we are 
using it as a covert and pusillanimous means of establishing our own 
superiority). In our other concerns of life, we prize individuality; 
why in this one matter we should depart from a principle that other- 
wise serves us well is a puzzle for fools and wise men to ponder, espe- 
cially since there is no general agreement on what to conform to, and 
one man's correctness is another's error. Not until we come to our 
senses— teachers, editors, writers and readers together— and stop 
riding each other's backs, will the casual, brisk, colorful, amused, 
ironic and entertaining talk of Americans find its way into print. 

We should all be happy to see it there. 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 249 

Korzybski and Semantics * 
by Stuart Chase 

Semantics is a department in the overall study of communica- 
tion, along with linguistics, cybernetics, perception theory, and many 
other disciplines. Among those who contributed importantly to it 
are Ogden and Richards, Rudolf Carnap, Bertrand Russell, and 
various other scientists. But the most colorful, newsworthy, and 
perhaps original of them all was Alfred Korzybski. Though he cre- 
ated no earth-shaking new philosophy, he dramatized an idea of 
great import and made it appeal to a wide audience. He helped to 
place it in the advancing field of social science, the field that Alex- 
ander Pope once called the proper study of mankind. 

I followed Korzybski's work with interest, excitement, and some 
frustration for many years, and am grateful for the wholesome shock 
my nervous system received when I first read his magnum opus, 
Science and Sanity. It forced me to recognize the unconscious 
assumptions imbedded in the language, which I as a writer had 
been calmly accepting. Nature, he said, does not work the way 
our language works, and he proceeded to give shrewd sugges- 
tions for a closer relationship. He called his approach "General 

As I knew him in his later years— he was seventy when he died 
in 1950— he had the general aspect of an amiable Buddha, bald as 
a newel post, with kindly, intelligent eyes behind vast, round spec- 
tacles, and a rich, rolling Polish accent. He was rude, formidable, 
oververbalized, and strangely appealing— for all I know an au- 
thentic genius. 

Piecing together parts of his background, we note that he was a 
count from a proud and ancient family, with an estate in the country 
and properties in Warsaw. Trained as a chemical engineer at the 
Warsaw Polytechnic Institute, he read widely in law, mathematics, 
and philosophy. He was also, we are told, handsome and a bit 

* Based on material from Power of Words ( New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 
1954); reprinted from The Saturday Review, June 19, 1954, pp. 11-12; 46-48, by 
permission of the author, Harcourt, Brace & Co., and The Saturday Review. 
Stuart Chase, graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard 
University and author of more than twenty books, has long been a special student 
of language. His The Tyranny of Words (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 
1938 ) was one of the first "semantics" books to receive wide attention. Now he 
has returned to word-and-meaning study in Power of Words. 

250 Report Writing 

wild, as befitted a young nobleman. In World War I he served 
on the Grand Duke's staff, was twice wounded, and then came to 
America as an artillery expert for the Czarist Russian Army, He 
added English to his five Continental languages, and while he never 
got his phonemes straight, he acquired great fluency and came to 
prefer it. He wrote his books and articles in English and thought 
in this language. He married a talented American portrait painter, 
Mira Edgerly, and later became an American citizen. 

He published two books and a score of papers, none of them 
easy to read. When he conducted an oral seminar, however, with 
a full display of gestures and his wonderful accent, the communica- 
tion line was clear most of the time. I can see him now, reaching 
stout, muscular arms into the air and wiggling two fingers of each 
hand to make the "quote" sign, somewhat the way Churchill made 
the "V" sign. In semantics quotation marks around a word mean: 
"Beware, it's loaded!" 

Korzybski's chief claim to fame will rest, I think, on Science 
and Sanity, difficult as it is. His earlier book, Manhood of Hu- 
manity is shorter and less difficult. Its thesis is that man is dis- 
tinguished from the rest of earth's creatures by his language and 
the ability to pass down what he learns from one generation to the 
next. Even the most intelligent elephant has to begin over with 
each generation. "The proper life of man as man, is not life- 
in-space like that of the animals, but life-in-time. . . . Bound-up 
time is literally the core and substance of civilization." This 
passing-down process, to which Korzybski gives the name 
"time-binding," runs parallel with the culture concept of the anthro- 

After publishing Manhood of Humanity, Korzybski spent ten 
years of intensive work preparing for and writing Science and 
Sanity. It was published in 1933 at the bottom of the Depression 
—hardly an auspicious year to bring out an expensive book. In 
it Korzybski explored relativity, quantum theory, colloid chemistry > 
biology, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, mathematical logic, and 
what was then available by other students of communication theory 
and semantics. The question he set himself to answer was how 
the structure of language could be brought closer to the structure 
of the space-time world. He cited the new talk of scientists, fol- 
lowing the Einstein revolution. If physicists could teach themselves 
to communicate more clearly about atoms and nebulae, would it 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 251 

not be possible for the rest of us to do likewise about politics, eco- 
nomics, and human relations? 

The word "semantics" first appeared in dictionaries about fifty 
years ago, defined as "studies having to do with signification or 
meaning." The Society for General Semantics in Chicago has issued 
two short, comprehensive definitions, as follows: 

Semantics . . . The systematic study of meaning. 

General Semantics . . . The study and improvement of human 
evaluative processes with special emphasis on the relation to signs 
and symbols, including language. 

Note the accent on "evaluation" in defining General Semantics. 
Whenever we become conscious about the meaning of a context— 
"What is the Senator trying to say?" . . . "How can I tell her more 
clearly?" . . . "What kind of double talk is that?"— we are prac- 
tising elementary semantics. 

The goals of General Semantics are three: 

1. To help the individual evaluate his world. As our environ- 
ment grows more and more complex, greater precision is 
needed to interpret it. 

2. To improve communication between A and B, also within 
and between groups of all sizes. 

3. To aid in clearing up mental illness. General Semantics 
was used with good results by Dr. Douglas Kelley in the 
treatment of some 7,000 battle-shock cases in World War II. 

Korzybski, together with other semanticists, was shy of "high 
order terms," the phrase he employed to characterize vague verbal 
abstractions. He went so far as to construct a little gadget of wood 
and metal to help the user analyze verbal abstractions. Watching 
one's step on abstraction ladders is not as academic as it sounds. 
For example, what do the following words mean? What can A 
and B both point to so they may find some common ground in dis- 
cussing them? 

American Way Creeping Socialism 

Appeasement Democracy 

Balanced Budget Fascism 

Big Business Free Enterprise 

Bureaucracy Free World 

Communism Government Interference 

252 Report Writing 

Labor Agitators Spending 

Leftist, Rightist Statism 

Loyalty, Security Subversives 

Monopoly Totalitarianism 

New Deal Wall Street 

Socialized Medicine Welfare State 

Two or more citizens can start an argument on any of these 
terms which may rage for hours without a referent in sight, beyond 
"Uh, I knew a man whose brother had it straight that . . . ." Yet 
down the ladder below these words are events and issues of the 
first importance which Americans must face. Every item in the 
list belongs in Korzybski's upraised fingers: "Quote— unquote. Be- 
ware, it's loaded!" Such terms are in marked contrast to low-order 
terms like "100° F.," "my cat there," "pure oxygen," "the key of 
C-sharp minor," "40 M.P.H." When I was writing The Tyranny of 
Words, everybody was talking, if not shouting loudly, about "Fas- 
cism." I asked a hundred persons from various walks of life to tell 
me what they meant by Fascism. They shared a common dislike 
for the term, but no two agreed what it meant. There were fifteen 
distinguishable, and contradictory, concepts in the answers sub- 
mitted. This gave an idea of the chaos involved in the indiscrimi- 
nate use of high order terms. 

Today, Fascism is out of style and everybody is talking, or shout- 
ing, about "Communism." Reporters from the Capital Times in 
Madison, Wisconsin, asked 197 persons on the street to answer the 
question: "What is a Communist?" Here are some of the replies: 

Farmer: "They are no good to my notion. I can't figure out what 

they are." 
Stenographer: "If a person didn't have a religion I would be tempted 

to believe he was a Communist." 
Housewife: "I really don't know what a Communist is. I think 

they should throw them out of the White House." 
High school student: "A Communist is a person who wants war." 
Office worker: "Anyone that stands for things that democracy does 


Not only was there no agreement, but 123 out of the 197 frankly 
admitted they did not know what a Communist is. All this came 
at a time when Congressional investigations were flooding the 
newspapers with the "Communist Menace" inside America. The 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 253 

danger of drowning we know about; but where shall the wayfaring 
citizen point to the specific danger of Communism within our bor- 
ders, in the light of this exhibit? 

Here is a typical abstraction ladder, beginning at the top and 
working downward: 

Mountains: What can be said about mountains which applies in all 
cases? Almost nothing. They are areas raised above other areas 
on land, under the sea, on the moon. The term is purely relative 
at this stage; something higher than something. 

Snow-capped mountains. Here on a lower rung we can say a little 
more. The elevations must be considerable, except in polar 
regions— at least 15,000 feet in the tropics. The snow forms 
glaciers which wind down their sides. They are cloud factories, 
producing severe storms, and they require special techniques for 

The Swiss Alps. These are snow-capped mountains about which 
one can say a good deal. The location can be described, also 
geology, glacier systems, average elevation, climatic conditions, 
first ascents, and so on. 

The Matterhorn. Here we can be even more specific. It is a snow- 
capped mountain 14,780 feet above the sea, shaped like a sharp 
wedge, constantly subject to avalanches of rock and ice. It has 
four faces, four ridges, three glaciers; was first climbed by the 
Whymper party in 1865, when four out of seven were killed— and 
so on. We have dropped down the ladder to a specific space-time 

To the question whether it is "safe" to climb the Matterhorn, 
Leslie Stephen, one of the great Alpinists, gave two answers of large 
semantic importance in 1871, long before the word appeared in the 

Statement 1. "There is no mountain in the Alps which cannot be 
climbed by a party of practised mountaineers with guides, in fine 
weather and under favorable conditions of the snow, with perfect 

Statement 2. "There is no mountain in the Alps which may not 
become excessively dangerous if the climbers are inexperienced, 
the guides incompetent, the weather bad and the snow unfavor- 
able. . . . There are circumstances under which the Rigi is far 
more dangerous than the Matterhorn under others. Any moun- 
tain may pass from the top to the bottom of the scale of danger 
... in a day or sometimes in an hour." 

254 Report Writing 

Stephen gives us an unforgettable example of the perils of gen- 
eralization. The "Matterhorn" in the morning is not the "Matter- 
horn" in the afternoon. A is not A. Matterhorn! is an easy jaunt 
for a woman climber; Matterhorn 2 is certain death for the best 
climber who ever lived. 

Korzybski often used the simile of the map. A map of the terri- 
tory, he says, useful as it may be to travelers, is not the territory. 
Similarly, language is not the world around us, but rather an 
indispensable guide to that world. The map, however, is worth- 
less if it shows the traveler a structure different from the ter- 
rain he sets out upon. Structure in this context means order 
and relations, what comes after what. If the order of cities on 
our map does not agree with the order on the territory, we 
may find ourselves driving to Montreal when we hoped to go to 

However detailed the map may be, it can never tell all about the 
territory. Similarly, language cannot tell "all" about an event; some 
characteristics will always be omitted. At the end of every verbal 
definition, if it is pushed far enough, there are undefined terms; we 
reach the silent level where we can point, but we cannot say. If 
there is nothing to point to, the communication line may break. 
This is one reason why physicists were driven to devise operational 
definitions in contrast with verbal ones. They performed operations 
with their hands in order to clarify what they meant. 

Korzybski places an apple on the table and asks us to describe 
it. We can say it is round, red, appetizing, with a short stem and 
one worm hole. But carefully as we may observe it, in the labora- 
tory or out, we can never tell all the characteristics of the apple, 
especially as we approach the submicroscopic level. What all the 
billions of atoms are up to nobody knows except in the most gen- 
eral, statistical way. 

Korzybski sets another apple beside the first, of similar shape 
and color. Is it identical? We are inclined to think so, but looking 
more closely we see that the stem is shorter, the red color is less 
vivid, and there are two worm holes instead of one. Apple 2 is not 
applei. By the same token, amoeba 2 is not amoeba^ Adam 2 is 
not Adam x . Nothing in nature is ever identical with anything else 
if the observations are carried far enough. Beware of false iden- 
tifications, says Korzybski; you will only confuse yourself and your 
hearers. Beware of thinking of "Baptists," "Americans," "business- 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 255 

men," "workers" as identical. Whatever characteristics they may 
have in common, they have others which are different. 

An object is not even identical with itself. Apple! is a process, 
changing its characteristics imperceptibly in a minute, slightly in a 
day, drastically in a month. Nothing in nature is quite what it was 
a moment ago. Even the Matterhorn wears slowly away, as rock 
avalanches come down the couloirs. Diamonds last longer than 
apples, but not forever. Be careful of thinking of apples, diamonds, 
people, or nations as unchanging events. Said Korzybski: 

The only possible link between the objective world and the 
verbal world is structural. If the two structures are similar, then the 
empirical world becomes intelligible to us— we "understand," can 
adjust ourselves. ... If the two structures are not similar . . . 
we do not "know," we do not "understand," the given problems 
are "unintelligible" to us . . . we do not know how to adjust our- 

Korzybski, as we have said, was profoundly influenced by the 
new language of science. Thermodynamics, he observed, could not 
have been built on such loose terms as "hot" and "cold"; a language 
showing minute quantitative changes and relations had to be de- 
veloped—the calculus. Our languages are full of primitive meta- 
physical concepts, and the effect is like emery dust in a delicate 
machine. General Semantics seeks to substitute a good lubricant 
for the emery. "We usually have sense enough to fit our shoes to 
our feet, but not sense enough to revise older methods of orienta- 
tion to fit the facts." 

From Korzybski's introduction to the second edition of Science 
and Sanity, which summarized the main principles of General 
Semantics, I have drawn the following twenty-one propositions or 
statements, trying to make a fair and objective digest. 

In any scientific endeavor we borrow foundations from those who 
have gone before— a part of the process of "time-binding." All the 
propositions put forth by Korzybski are built on groundwork laid 
by earlier scientists. Nobody makes completely original inventions 
nowadays. The first twelve statements now to be recited seem to 
me to rely heavily on the work of preceding scientists, while the last 
nine are more Korzybski's own. Certainly he developed them 

1. No two events in nature are identical. This proposition is ac- 
cepted by modern scientists. It runs counter to the "is of 

256 Report Writing 

identity" in Indo-European languages, and to the "A is A" of 
formal logic. 

2. Nature works in dynamic processes. Accepted by modern 
scientists and by some schools of philosophy. It disagrees with 
the linear, cause-and-effect structure of our language. 

3. Events flow into one another in nature by "insensible grada- 
tions." Nature is all of a piece, though our language tends to 
separate it into classes. 

4. Nature is best understood in terms of structure, order, relation- 
ships. Einstein helped to establish this through the principles 
of relativity. Indo-European languages, with substantives, 
entities, absolutes, are at odds with the proposition. 

5. Events in nature are four-dimensional. Modern physicists think 
in terms of space-time. Indo-European languages are struc- 
tured for three dimensions, and those who speak them have 
great difficulty with the concept of time. 

6. Events have unlimited characteristics. Our languages leave 
many of them out and thus often distort a judgment. 

7. There is no simultaneity in nature. Western languages assume 
it as a matter of course. 

8. There are no abstract entities outside our heads. But lan- 
guages may create verbal spooks which seem to be moving out 
there. My 100 respondents mostly thought of "Fascism" as 
an entity, a beast moving. 

9. Natural "laws" are at best only high probabilities. Scientists 
are now pretty well committed to the probability theory. The 
structure of English, among other languages, favors absolute 
laws and eternal principles. 

10. Multi-valued logic is cardinal in understanding and explaining 
nature. Indo-European languages tend to force us into two- 
valued thinking— the traps of either-or, black or white, "those 
who are not with us are against us." 

11. A word is not a thing but an artificial symbol. This has long 
been known, but the language structure still objectifies words 
and encourages word magic, where the word takes precedence 
over the physical event. 

12. A fact is not an inference: an inference is not a value judgment. 
The distinction is well known to the law, but not to the laity, 
and vast confusion results. The distinction may be illustrated 
by three statements: 

(A) This train is going at twenty miles an hour. A fact. 

(B) At this rate we'll be an hour late. An inference. 

(C) This lousy railroad is never on time! A value judgment. 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 257 

Asked to define an event, most of us jump to the level of value 
judgment. A proper definition begins at the other end. 

Now let me list the nine statements which seem more uniquely 

13. A map is not the territory. Our words are not nature, but their 
structures should correspond if we are to understand our world. 

14. The language of mathematics contains structures which corre- 
spond to the structure of nature. Korzybski expected a crop 
of young geniuses in physics as a result of the new talk fol- 
lowing Einstein— and sure enough, they appeared! Robert 
Oppenheimer was one of them. 

15. "Reality" is apperceived on three levels: macroscopic, micro- 
scopic, sub-microscopic. This point is not unique with Korzyb- 
ski, but his emphasis is unique. 

16. The systems of Aristotle, Euclid, and Newton are now special 
cases, and outmoded as general systems. Korzybski does not 
hold that these three great men are wrong, only that their 
"laws" cover less territory than was formerly supposed. 

17. Extensional, or objective, thinking is clearer and more accurate 
than intensional, or thinking inside one's skull. This is another 
way of saying "look outside," "Find the referent"— the latter a 
phrase which Korzybski did not like to use. 

18. At the end of all verbal behavior are undefined terms. This is 
the point where the senses in eye and ear and skin must pick 
up the signs from nature. Korzybski has emphasized this "un- 
spoken level" more forcefully than any other student. 

19. Language is self -reflexive. It is possible to make a statement 
about a statement about a statement indefinitely. (No apolo- 
gies to Gertrude Stein.) 

20. Man, alone among earth's creatures, "binds time"; that is, profits 
by the experience of past generations. Well-known and ob- 
vious long before Korzybski, but uniquely phrased by him. 
(Not included in his appendix directly.) 

21. The nervous system can he consciously reoriented to improve 
evaluation. Science can restore sanity. Korzybski deeply be- 
lieved this, titled his book as a result of it, but his proof is not 
conclusive. If the proposition turns out to be true it may add 
considerably to his stature. Delayed response, the use of 
warning signals, awareness of abstracting, and the rest, do 
improve evaluation without question. But does the use of 
General Semantics retrain the whole nervous system, so that 
improved evaluation becomes as automatic as the knee jerk? 
Psychiatrists are sceptical. 

258 Report Writing 

It seems plain that while General Semantics has made important 
contributions to the study of communication it has not seized the 
leadership. Compared with cultural anthropology, with linguistics, 
with the work of Claude Shannon on mathematical theories of com- 
munication, it is more a point of view than a rigorous scientific 

Korzybski "brought together a useful way of thinking and talking 
about human thinking and talking," says Professor Irving J. Lee. 
"He had devised and explained the principles; he had not estab- 
lished a training-testing program with equal thoroughness." He 
inaugurated no clinic for practising his methods, no controlled ex- 
periments to validate them. 

Korzybski was something of a prima donna, and he had a few 
unfortunate prejudices. He was overcritical of the work of others 
in his field. I felt the sting of this criticism from time to time, 
though I had done my best to make his work more widely known. 
Sometimes it seemed as if the originator of General Semantics were 
trying to set up a one-man philosophy in the great tradition, which 
would supersede the system of Aristotle, Aquinas, or Hegel. Yet 
the scientific method, upon which he mainly relied, is intolerant of 
one-man philosophies. 

Despite the feelings of frustration engendered by parts of 
"Science and Sanity," the determined reader has in the end a rich 
reward. Doors which had been closed begin to open; the world 
takes on a new dimension. Among the semanticists who have been 
carrying on since Korzybski's death in 1950— Hayakawa, Lee, Rapo- 
port, Chisholm, Kelley, to name a few— are objective scholars, shy 
of cults and revelations. They will succeed, I believe, in fusing 
General Semantics into the amalgam of the social sciences where 
it belongs, linked with all the other disciplines. 

Meanwhile, I can testify that twenty years of exposure to General 
Semantics have demonstrated that the evaluation of men and events 
can be sharpened by its use, that certain mental blocks can be 
remedied, that one's writing can be clarified. 

Students of General Semantics report a better ability to listen, 
a reduction in the terrors of stage fright, help in cases of stuttering. 
General Semantics can aid in teaching children to understand their 
world, and in bringing "backward" scholars up to mark. It has led 
to a healthy re-examination of verbal proof. 

This is no small contribution for one person to make. We owe 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 259 

Korzybski a good deal, not only for what he discovered or high- 
lighted, but for the furor created by his personality. He lit fires, 
started controversies, caused people to examine what lay behind 
their terms, and so gave a much-needed impetus to the whole 

"What is the difference, Count Korzybski, between man and 
other living creatures?" he was sometimes asked. His eyes would 
gleam behind the great round spectacles and his deep voice with its 
rolling accent would reply: "A quar-rter-r- of an inch of cor-rtex." 

The Language of Reports * 

by S. I. Hayakawa 

For the purposes of the interchange of information, the basic 
symbolic act is the report of what we have seen, heard, or felt: 
"There is a ditch on each side of the road." "You can get those 
at Smith's hardware store for $2.75." "There aren't any fish on that 
side of the lake, but there are on this side." Then there are reports 
of reports: "The longest waterfall in the world is Victoria Falls in 
Rhodesia." "The Battle of Hastings took place in 1066." "The 
papers say that there was a big smash-up on Highway 41 near 
Evansville." Reports adhere to the following rules: First, they are 
capable of verification; second, they exclude, as far as possible, 
inferences and judgments. (These terms will be defined later.) 

Verifiability. Reports are verifiable. We may not always be able 
to verify them ourselves, since we cannot track down the evidence 
for every piece of history we know, nor can we all go to Evansville 
to see the remains of the smash-up before they are cleared away. 
But if we are roughly agreed on the names of things, on what con- 
stitutes a "foot," "yard," "bushel," and so on, and on how to measure 
time, there is relatively little danger of our misunderstanding each 
other. Even in a world such as we have today, in which everybody 
seem to be quarreling with everybody else, we still to a surprising 
degree trust each others reports. We ask directions of total 

* This excerpt is quoted by permission from Language in Thought and 
Action (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1949), pp. 28 ff. Dr. Hayakawa 
has taught at the University of Chicago and Illinois Tech; he is now Editor, 
Etc., a Review of General Semantics, and a lecturer in much demand on lan- 
guage, art, and jazz. 

260 Report Writing 

strangers when we are traveling. We follow directions on road signs 
without being suspicious of the people who put them up. We read 
books of information about science, mathematics, automotive en- 
gineering, travel, geography, the history of costume, and other 
such factual matters, and we usually assume that the author is doing 
his best to tell us as truly as he can what he knows. And we are 
safe in so assuming most of the time. With the emphasis that is 
being given today to the discussion of biased newspapers, propa- 
gandists, and the general untrustworthiness of many of the communi- 
cations we receive, we are likely to forget that we still have an 
enormous amount of reliable information available and that delib- 
erate misinformation, except in warfare, still is more the exception 
than the rule. The desire for self-preservation that compelled men 
to evolve means for the exchange of information also compels them 
to regard the giving of false information as profoundly reprehensible. 
At its highest development, the language of reports is the lan- 
guage of science. By "highest development" we mean greatest 
general usefulness. Presbyterian and Catholic, workingman and 
capitalist, German and Englishman, agree on the meanings of such 
symbols as 2 X 2 = 4, 100° C, HN0 3 , 3:35 a.m., 1940 a.d., 5000 
r.p.m., 1000 kilowatts, Pulex irritans, and so on. But how, it may 
be asked, can there be agreement about even this much among 
people who are at each other's throats about practically everything 
else: political philosophies, ethical ideas, religious beliefs, and the 
survival of my business versus the survival of yours? The answer is 
that circumstances compel men to agree, whether they wish to or 
not. If, for example, there were a dozen different religious sects 
in the United States, each insisting on its own way of naming the 
time of the day and the days of the year, the mere necessity of hav- 
ing a dozen different calendars, a dozen different kinds of watches, 
and a dozen sets of schedules for business hours, trains, and radio 
programs, to say nothing of the effort that would be required for 
translating terms from one nomenclature to another, would make 
life as we know it impossible.* 

* According to information supplied by the Association of American Rail- 
roads, "Before 1883 there were nearly 100 different time zones in the United 
States. It wasn't until November 18 of that year that ... a system of standard 
time was adopted here and in Canada. Before then there was nothing but local 
or 'solar' time. . . . The Pennsylvania Railroad in the East used Philadelphia 
time, which was five minutes slower than New York time and five minutes faster 
than Baltimore time. The Baltimore & Ohio used Baltimore time for trains 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 261 

The language of reports, then, including the more accurate re- 
ports of science, is "map" language, and because it gives us reason- 
ably accurate representations of the "territory," it enables us to get 
work done. Such language may often be what is commonly termed 
"dull" or "uninteresting" reading: one does not usually read loga- 
rithmic tables or telephone directories for entertainment. But we 
could not get along without it. There are numberless occasions in 
the talking and writing we do in everyday life that require that we 
state things in such a way that everybody will agree with our formu- 

Inferences. The reader will find that practice in writing reports 
is a quick means of increasing his linguistic awareness. It is an 
exercise which will constantly provide him with his own examples 
of the principles of language and interpretation under discussion. 
The reports should be about first-hand experience— scenes the reader 
has witnessed himself, meetings and social events he has taken part 
in, people he knows well. They should be of such a nature that they 
can be verified and agreed upon. For the purpose of this exercise, 
inferences will be excluded. 

Not that inferences are not important— we rely in everyday life 
and in science as much on inferences as on reports— in some areas 
of thought, for example, geology, paleontology, and nuclear physics, 
reports are the foundations, but inferences (and inferences upon 
inferences) are the main body of the science. An inference, as we 
shall use the term, is a statement about the unknown made on the 
basis of the known. We may infer from the handsomeness of a 
woman's clothes her wealth or social position; we may infer from 
the character of the ruins the origin of the fire that destroyed the 
building; we may infer from a man's calloused hands the nature of 
his occupation; we may infer from a senator's vote on an armaments 
bill his attitude toward Russia; we may infer from the structure of 
the land the path of a prehistoric glacier; we may infer from a halo 

running out of Baltimore, Columbus time for Ohio, Vincennes (Indiana) time 
for those going out of Cincinnati. . . . When it was noon in Chicago, it was 
12:31 in Pittsburgh; 12:24 in Cleveland; 12:17 in Toledo; 12:13 in Cincinnati; 
12:09 in Louisville; 12:07 in Indianapolis; 11:50 in St. Louis; 11:48 in 
Dubuque; 11:39 in St. Paul, and 11:27 in Omaha. There were 27 local time 
zones in Michigan alone. ... A person traveling from Eastport, Maine, to 
San Francisco, if he wanted always to have the right railroad time and get off at 
the right place, had to twist the hands of his watch 20 times en route." Chicago 
Daily News, September 29, 1948. 

262 Report Writing 

on an unexposed photographic plate that it has been in the vicinity 
of radioactive materials; we may infer from the noise an engine 
makes the condition of its connecting rods. Inferences may be care- 
lessly or carefully made. They may be made on the basis of a great 
background of previous experience with the subject-matter, or no 
experience at all. For example, the inferences a good mechanic 
can make about the internal condition of a motor by listening to it 
are often startlingly accurate, while the inferences made by an 
amateur (if he tries to make any) may be entirely wrong. But the 
common characteristip of inferences is that they are statements about 
matters which are not directly known, made on the basis of what 
has been observed. > 

The avoidance of inferences in our suggested practice in report- 
writing requires that we make no guesses as to what is going on in 
other people's minds. When we say, "He was angry," we are not 
reporting; we are making an inference from such observable facts 
as the following: "He pounded his fist on the table; he swore; he 
threw the telephone directory at his stenographer." In this par- 
ticular example, the inference appears to be fairly safe; nevertheless, 
it is important to remember, especially for the purposes of training 
oneself, that it is an inference. Such expressions as "He thought a 
lot of himself," "He was scared of girls," "He has an inferiority 
complex," made on the basis of casual observation, and "What Russia 
really wants to do is to establish a world communist dictatorship," 
made on the basis of casual newspaper reading, are highly infer- 
ential. One should keep in mind their inferential character and, in 
our suggested exercises, should substitute for them such statements 
as "He rarely spoke to subordinates in the plant," "I saw him at a 
party, and he never danced except with one of the girls who asked 
him to," "He wouldn't apply for the scholarship although I believe 
he could have won it easily," and "The Russian delegation to the 
United Nations has asked for A, B, and C. Last year they voted 
against M and N, and voted for X and Y. On the basis of facts such 
as these, the newspaper I read makes the inference that what Russia 
really wants is to establish a world communist dictatorship. I tend 
to agree." 

Judgments. In our suggested writing exercise, judgments are also 
to be excluded. By judgments, we shall mean all expressions of 
the writers approval or disapvroval of the occurrences, persons, or 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 263 

objects he is describing. For example, a report cannot say, "It was 
a wonderful car," but must say something like this: "It has been 
driven 50,000 miles and has never required any repairs." Again 
statements like "Jack lied to us" must be suppressed in favor of the 
more verifiable statement, "Jack told us he didn't have the keys to 
his car with him. However, when he pulled a handkerchief out of 
his pocket a few minutes later, a bunch of car keys fell out." Also 
a report may not say, "The senator was stubborn, defiant, and 
unco-operative," or "The senator courageously stood by his prin- 
ciples"; it must say instead, "The senator's vote was the only one 
against the bill." 

Many people regard statements like the following as statements 
of "fact": "Jack lied to us," "Jerry is a thief" "Tommy is clever." 
As ordinarily employed, however, the word ''lied" involves first an 
inference (that Jack knew otherwise and deliberately misstated the 
facts) and secondly a judgment (that the speaker disapproves of 
what he has inferred that Jack did ) . In the other two instances, we 
may substitute such expressions as, "J err Y was convicted of theft 
and served two years at Waupun," and "Tommy plays the violin, 
leads his class in school, and is captain of the debating team." After 
all, to say of a man that he is a "thief" is to say in effect, "He has 
stolen and will steal again"— which is more of a prediction than a 
report. Even to say, "He has stolen," is to make an inference (and 
simultaneously to pass a judgment) on an act about which there 
may be difference of opinion among those who have examined the 
evidence upon which the conviction was obtained. But to say 
that he was "convicted of theft" is to make a statement capable of 
being agreed upon through verification in court and prison records. 

Scientific verifiability rests upon the external observation of facts, 
not upon the heaping up of judgments. If one person says, "Peter 
is a deadbeat," and another says, "I think so too," the statement has 
not been verified. In court cases, considerable trouble is sometimes 
caused by witnesses who cannot distinguish their judgments from 
the facts upon which those judgments are based. Cross-examina- 
tions under these circumstances go something like this: 

Witness: That dirty double-crosser Jacobs ratted on me. 
Defense Attorney: Your honor, I object. 

Judge: Objection sustained. (Witness's remark is stricken from the 
record.) Now try to tell the court exactly what happened. 
Witness: He doubled-crossed me, the dirty, lying rat! 

264 Report Writing 

Defense Attorney: Your honor, I object. 

Judge: Objection sustained. (Witness's remark is again stricken from 
the record.) Will the witness try to stick to the facts. 

Witness: But I'm telling you the facts, your honor. He did double- 
cross me. 

This can continue indefinitely unless the cross-examiner exercises 
some ingenuity in order to get at the facts behind the judgment. 
To the witness it is a "fact" that he was "double-crossed." Often 
hours of patient questioning are required before the factual bases 
of the judgment are revealed. 

Many words, of course, simultaneously convey a report and a 
judgment on the facts reported. For the purposes of a report as 
here defined, these should be avoided. Instead of "sneaked in," 
one might say "entered quietly"; instead of "politicians," "congress- 
men," or "aldermen," or "candidates for office"; instead of "bureau- 
crat," "public official"; instead of "tramp," "homeless unemployed"; 
instead of "dictatorial set-up," "centralized authority"; instead of 
"crackpots," "holders of uncommon views." A newspaper reporter, 
for example, is not permitted to write, "A crowd of suckers came to 
listen to Senator Smith last evening in that rickety firetrap and ex- 
dive that disfigures the south edge of town." Instead he says, "Be- 
tween seventy-five and a hundred people heard an address last 
evening by Senator Smith at the Evergreen Gardens near the South 
Side city limits." 

Improve Your Vocabulary, But Keep Big Words 
in Their Place * 

by George Summey, Jr. 

You already know that without an adequate vocabulary you will 
miss a good deal of what you hear or read and be unable to put 
your communications into clear, easy, and vigorous English. 

And of course you know that you have three overlapping vo- 
cabularies—one for speech, a larger one for writing, and a much 
larger recognition vocabulary for hearing and reading. 

* Quoted by permission from C. W. Wilkinson, J. H. Menning, and C. R. 
Anderson, Writing for Business (Chicago: Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1951), pp. 
130 ff. George Summey, Jr., Professor of English at the Agricultural and 
Mechanical College of Texas, is best known for his significant book American 
Punctuation (New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1949). 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 265 

Let's get two mistaken notions about personal vocabularies out 
of the way— ( 1 ) that an average college student knows only 5,000 or 
perhaps 10,000 words, and (2) the widely held but evil notion that 
by carefully heaping up and showing off a big stock of fine words, 
so many every day or week, you can make yourself a big man. 
That's a short way to make yourself look silly. 

If you think you know only 5,000 words, you can get some idea 
of the range of your vocabulary by making a rough inventory of 
a few kinds of names you know— of persons living or dead, on the 
campus and elsewhere; of countries, states, cities, streets, and build- 
ings; of foods and drinks; of things you wear; of sports and sports 
equipment; of birds, beasts, and plants; of articles on hardware 
counters; of machines and the materials they fabricate. If you write 
out some of these lists, leave plenty of room for additional names 
that will pop up in your mind. And of course you know pronouns, 
connective words, many adjectives and adverbs, and great numbers 
of verbs. 

Popular estimates of personal vocabularies are much too low. 
The Danish linguist Otto Jespersen cites an estimate of the vo- 
cabulary familiar to Swedish peasants— 26,000 words or more. 
And F. M. Gerlach (cited in George Philip Krapp's Knowledge of 
English) estimates that at the time of graduation, a college student 
should be in command of 100,000 words, more or less, not including 
names of persons in books or in real life, names of ships, slang 
expressions and colloquialisms, brands of goods, and other familiar 
terms. The result, Mr. Gerlach remarks, is "an indefinitely large, 
truly appalling, vocabulary." 

In all probability your recognition vocabulary is astonishingly 
large. What you need to do is to improve your understanding of 
words you already know after a fashion and to add words as you 
need them for exact and lively expression. 

Perhaps you have misunderstood what Johnson O'Connor had 
to say in his article "Vocabulary and Success"— a frequently quoted 
article that has been misquoted or misinterpreted by many who 
ought to know better. Mr. O'Connor tried a 150-word test of gen- 
eral reading vocabulary— not speech or writing vocabulary— on 
various classes of persons. Average numbers of errors were as fol- 
lows: Major business executives, 7; college professors, 8; one thou- 
sand college students, 27; seven hundred college freshmen, 42. De- 

266 Report Writing 

partment heads in manufacturing concerns scored about 15 errors, 
shop foremen about 27. 

Mr. O'Connor's conclusions are ( 1 ) that "an exact and extensive 
vocabulary is an important concomitant of success," (2) that such 
a vocabulary can be acquired, and ( 3 ) that vocabulary "increases as 
long as an individual remains in school or college, but without con- 
scious effort does not change materially thereafter." 

What conclusions do you draw from Mr. O'Connor's findings? 
Is a big vocabulary the key to success? Or is it possible that success 
is the key to vocabulary? In particular, can you make yourself a 
big man by transferring unfamiliar words from your reading vo- 
cabulary to your speech and writing vocabularies? The test Mr. 
O'Connor used included glabrous, polyglot, and refulgent. Can you 
use any of these to advantage in your next letter or report? And 
what of the following words from one of the Readers Digest tests 
( "It Pays to Increase Your Word Power" ') —cajoling, auro, apocryphal, 
au fait, garniture, lucent, insouciance? If you try some of these 
in your next business letter or report, you will startle your readers 
and look silly. The words will be like green patches on a blue suit. 

A reasonable conclusion about the known relation between vo- 
cabulary and success is ( 1 ) that you can build a strong vocabulary 
only by alert and successful activity, and (2) that a strong vocab- 
ulary helps you succeed. Success and vocabulary work together. 

If President Allen of the big ABC Manufacturing Corporation 
reached his high place on merit, the reasonable explanation is that 
he rose by knowing more than ordinary men about raw materials, 
machines, assembly lines, markets, and good ways of dealing with 
his fellow men. By alert attention to what he had to know and do, 
he learned facts and the big words that stood for these facts. And 
because he knew the meanings of his words and knew words for 
what he had to write or talk about, he was able to build up a strong 
and useful vocabulary. And no doubt he kept learning facts, rela- 
tions of fact to fact, and words for these facts and relations long 
after he reached a good position and comfortable salary. 

If you have the intelligence and will to master a useful and 
ready vocabulary, the following ways are open to you. If they are 
not easy, that is the way of life. 

1. Most important: by mastering the facts and words you need 
to know as students of chemistry, accounting, or whatever 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 267 

else, and the facts and words you need to know for the 
purposes of your personal and social life. By keen, vig- 
orous, successful bodily and mental activity you can get firm 
possession of facts and ideas and of words that stand for 
them. If you are not willing to pay this price for words, 
do not expect to find any magical way of learning the words 
you need to know. 

2. You can learn much, especially about the meanings of ab- 
stract terms such as democracy, liberty, free enterprise, and 
Americanism by paying good attention to well informed 
persons who talk sense, whether you are in a lecture room 
or sitting in on a conversation. And don't lose opportunities 
to ask good questions about words you need to know or 
know better. After a lecture by Norman Thomas at College 
Station, a student asked a good question— "Mr. Thomas, 
what is the difference between socialism and communism?" 
He got an answer that enlightened him and everyone else in 
the audience. 

3. When you read, read with alert attention, and go to a dic- 
tionary for the meaning of key words you do not understand. 
But remember that the new words you learn in your read- 
ing may not be useful in your next letter or class paper. If 
they are needed, use them. If they are not certain to be 
clear to your readers, make them clear by definition or il- 

4. When you write, and especially when you revise your first 
drafts, take pains to use exact and expressive words. "Use 
the right word," says Mark Twain, "and not its second 
cousin." The right word may be abstract or concrete, gen- 
eral or specific, according to circumstances. If you need a 
word that includes bonds, preferred and common stocks, 
mortgages, notes, and option warrants, the best word is 
securities. If you need to name only one type or a single 
issue, the best term may be investment- grade preferred 
stocks or Union Pacific 4% noncumulative preferred. The 
same principle applies to abstract and concrete words. 
Market value is a useful abstract term; but there are times 
when it is best to be concrete— "the price a bidder is willing 
to pay and an owner to take." 

268 Report Writing 

A glance at a list of synonyms in your dictionary may 
help you find a better word when you are not satisfied with 
a word you have written down. In the article courage, one 
dictionary lists the synonyms fearlessness, dauntlessness, in- 
trepidity, fortitude, pluck, heroism, daring, hardihood, brav- 
ery, valor. The same dictionary lists under inexorable the 
synonyms relentless, unrelenting, implacable, and refers the 
reader to inflexible, under which the four synonyms are 

5. Actively observe the ways of words in actual use— their 
meanings, their connotations, and their tone. Be especially 
careful of words that are often confused. Official and offi- 
cious differ in denotation; an official notice is not officious, 
and the remarks of an officious person are not official. A 
three-ton truck is an effective carrier of a half -ton load but 
not efficient. Negligent homicide is not negligible, as you 
will learn if you run a red light tomorrow morning and 
kill somebody. Essential means more than important. Resi- 
dence and amity— useful words in their place— are colder 
than home and friendliness. Valor is less likely to be useful 
in everyday speech or writing than courage, though valor 
is a useful word in an army commission. 

6. Though meanings of words are determined by actual use 
and not by derivation, a study of word formation— in dic- 
tionary entries or elsewhere— will give you a better under- 
standing of derivative words such as atrophy, synthesis and 
synthetic, antipathy, entomology, thermodynamics. And 
derivation will help you grasp the standard meanings of 
certain words that keep their derivative meanings— ento- 
mology, for example, annihilate, decimate, literally. (A 
person who is literally frozen to death should be buried. 
When you hear a woman use literally that way, just remem- 
ber that it's a woman's privilege.) 

By all means increase the range and improve the quality of your 
vocabulary. But don't be fooled into dressing up your speech and 
writing with bookish, unusual words. If an unusual word is re- 
quired for accuracy, use it— with whatever explanation you need to 
give your reader. But do not assume that a word you have learned 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 269 

to recognize in reading— legerdemain, hegemony, refulgent, verve, 
nuance, tenuous, or factitious— will be useful in your writing. 

Here are some reasons why you need to use plain wording— and 
sometimes to put your darling big word on the shelf: 

1. Plain wording makes easy reading. A style overloaded with 
technical terms and strange derivatives will make heavy 
reading. A safe rule: Make your wording clear and simple. 
So far as you can without loss of accuracy, use familiar 
words. Plain writing can be strong and beautiful, as 
Shakespeare and Defoe well knew. 

2. Plain wording lets the light through; fancy wording is often 
a camouflage for empty or silly matter. When you put 
thought into plain, familiar words, you will know whether 
you are talking sense or nonsense. Don't use stuffed-shirt 

3. Plain wording, if accurate and expressive, is in good taste; 
fancy, pompous wording makes it appear that the writer is 
a big-wordy showoff— a Mr. Vocabulary Builder like foolish 
Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. 

4. If you go in for unfamiliar words, you are in danger of mak- 
ing yourself ridiculous by confusing words you have only 
half learned. You cannot afford to say flaunt when you 
mean flout, decimate when you mean annihilate or wipe out, 
cooperation when you mean corporation, or calvary when 
you mean cavalry. Don't be a Mrs. Malaprop. If you don't 
know what she did with big words, skim through Sheridan's 
comedy The Rivals. 

In order to make your wording clear and idiomatic and at the 
same time vigorous and lively, do not fail to make good use of three 
classes of words: 

1. Lively verbs and adverbs such as break, pull, strike, blow, 
apart, through, under, and idiomatic verb-adverb combina- 
tions such as hold on, hold off, hold out; blot out; wipe out; 
take off, take down, take after; put about, put aside, put 
away, put by, put down, put in, put off, put on, put out, 
put up. 

2. Self-explaining compounds. (Don't look for these in vo- 
cabulary tests. They are too easy on the reader. ) Compare 


Report Writing 

the derivatives in the first column with the compounds in 
the second column. The compounds are easier English. 

premeditated killing 
exterminate, annihilate 
extinguish the fire 
impetuous haste 
natal day 
intrepid fighters 
mellifluous orators 

cold-blooded killing 

wipe out 

put out the fire 

bring to 

headlong haste 


stouthearted fighters 

honey-tongued orators 


Nouns as modifiers of nouns, except when adjective forms 
are customary, as in Cuban cigars, Italian olive oil. The 
expressions in the second column are more idiomatic than 
those in the first column. 

original members 
ecclesiastical property 
labial consonants 
industrial sites 
pecuniary income 
monetary value 
piscatorial stories 
commercial loans 
urban lots 
literary words 
nocturnal predators 

charter members 
church property 
lip consonants 
factory sites 
cash income 
cash value 
fish stories 
business loans 
city lots 
book words 
night prowlers 

In your enterprise of improving youi vocabularies for reading 
and hearing, speech, and writing, keep the following facts in mind: 
(1) That you already have a large vocabulary, which you can im- 
prove by learning better the facts represented by the symbols you 
already know. (2) That words are worth adding to your writing 
and speech vocabularies when they meet real needs— saying clearly 
and accurately what you either cannot now say or cannot say well. 
(3) That many of the words you need to recognize in reading are 
not useful in your speech or writing, because they might leave your 
readers puzzled. (4) That plain wording is honest and in good 
taste, and much more readable than pompous, bookish, pretentious 
wording. (5) Most important: that you learn words naturally and 
put yourself in firm possession of them by alert, intelligent, success- 

Language, Semantics, Vocabulary: Readings 271 

ful activity in reading and hearing, learning the facts you need to 
know, thinking out what you need to understand, talking sense in 
the clearest English you can command, and writing good sense in 
easy and accurate English that will be clear at sight— not to readers 
in general but to the readers for whom you are writing. 

Chapter 15 

People in Quandaries * 
by Wendell Johnson 

The Basic Features of Science as Method. [We shall here] 
examine briefly some of the more "obvious"— but very important and 
not at all commonly employed— features of scientific method. 

We may say, in briefest summary, that the method of science 
consists in (a) asking clear answerable questions in order to direct 
one's ( b ) observations, which are made in a calm and unprejudiced 
manner, and which are then (c) reported as accurately as possible 
and in such a way as to answer the questions that were asked to 
begin with, after which (d) any pertinent beliefs or assumptions 
that were held before the observations were made are revised in 
the light of the observations made and the answers obtained. Then 
more questions are asked in accordance with the newly revised 
notions, further observations made, new answers are arrived at, 
beliefs and assumptions are again revised, after which the whole 
process starts over again. In fact, it never stops. Science as method 
is continuous. All its conclusions are held subject to the further 
revision that new observations may require. It is a method of 
keeping one's information, beliefs, and theories up to date. It is, 
above all, a method of "changing one's mind"— sufficiently often. 

Four main steps are indicated in this brief sketch of the scientific 
method. Three of them are concerned primarily with the use of 
language: the asking of the questions that guide the observations, 
the reporting of the observations so as to answer the questions, and 

* By permission from People in Quandaries (New York: Harper & Bros., 
1946). Dr. Johnson received his three degrees and has spent his teaching 
career at the State University of Iowa. His book from which this excerpt is 
taken is one of the classics of semantics. 


Style: Readings 273 

the revising of beliefs or assumptions relevant to the answers ob- 
tained. The things which we seem most commonly to associate with 
scientific work, namely, the apparatus and the observational tech- 
niques, these make up but one of the steps— and this is one part 
of the whole procedure that can be managed more or less entirely 
by technicians or laboratory assistants, provided there is a scientist 
to tell them what techniques and what apparatus to use. The re- 
cording, tabulating, and writing up of the observations can also be 
done in many instances and for the most part by assistants capable 
of following fairly simple instructions. But nobody else can take 
the place of the scientist when it comes to framing the questions 
and the theoretical conclusions. That, above everything else, is his 
work as a scientist, and that is work that requires the ability to 
use language in a particularly effective way. The language of 
science is the better part of the method of science. Just so, the 
language of sanity is the better part of sanity. 

Of this language there are two chief things to be said. It must 
be clear and it must be accurate or valid. Whether or not it is 
grammatically "correct" is of secondary importance; certainly one 
can write with grammatical "correctness" and yet fail to achieve 
either clarity or validity. Scientific language need not, but may, 
embody what the literary circle would call good style. At least, 
it is generally agreed that there are many fascinating scientific 
books. Incidentally, at least the first fifty pages or so of Einstein's 
little book entitled Relativity might well be recommended to high 
school and college students as a model of English composition. 

The Language of Science and of Sanity. There is a cardinal 
principle in terms of which language is used scientifically: It must 
be used meaningfully. The statements made must refer directly or 
indirectly ( by means of interrelated definitions ) to something in the 
realm of experience. It is not enough that they refer to something 
for the speaker and that they also refer to something for the listener. 
What is required is that they refer to approximately the same thing 
for both the speaker and the listener. In speaking meaningfully one 
does not just communicate, one communicates something to some- 
one. And the something communicated is not the words that are 
used, but whatever those words represent. The degree to which 
communication occurs depends precisely upon the degree to which 
the words represent the same thing for the listener that they do 

274 Report Writing 

for the speaker. And the degree to which they do is an index of the 
clarity of the language employed— the clarity that is such a basic 
feature of scientific language. (It is to be understood, of course, 
that what is here being said holds for both spoken and written 
language. ) 

Clarity is so important in the language of science— which is to say, 
in the language of sanity— because clarity is a prerequisite to validity. 
It is to be considered that statements that "flow beautifully" and are 
grammatically superb may be also devoid of factual meaning, or 
meaningful but vague, or precise but invalid. Now, scientific state- 
ments—that is to say, statements that serve to make adequate ad- 
justment probable— must be both clear and valid. They can be 
clear without having validity, but if they are unclear their validity 
cannot well be determined. They must then, first of all, be clear 
or factually meaningful; they must be that before the question of 
their validity can ever be raised. We ask "What do you mean?" 
before we ask, "How do you know?" Until we reach agreement as 
to precisely what a person is talking about, we cannot possibly reach 
agreement as to whether or in what degree his statements are true. 

Only to the extent that those who hear a statement agree as to 
the specific conditions or observations required for ascertaining its 
validity can the question of its validity have meaning. And the 
extent to which they do agree in this sense is, of course, an indica- 
tion of the extent to which the statement is clear or meaningful. If 
a statement is such that those who hear it do not agree at all as to 
how it might be verified or refuted, the statement may be "beautiful" 
or "eloquent," or grammatically irreproachable, but it is also, and 
above all, nonsense. It cannot be demonstrated to be valid or 
invalid, and is meaningful therefore, if at all, only to its author and 
to his psychiatrist. Otherwise it is mere noise, melodious and 
rhythmical, made up of more or less familiar words, perhaps, but 
taken altogether it is no more factually meaningful than the noise 
of a rattling steam radiator. 

An example of such noise may be seen in the statement made by 
Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire's Candide that "this is the best of all possible 
worlds." Coming upon it as it stands, one would certainly have 
to do a considerable amount of inquiring in order to discover just 
what it is about. What, for example, does Voltaire's good Doctor 
represent by this world? Does he mean the world as he knows it, 
or "everybody's" world, or only as it is experienced by certain per- 

Style: Readings 275 

sons; or does he mean only part of the world as anyone might ex- 
perience it? With the little word is, does he refer to the world as 
one finds it, or to its ultimate possibilities? Then, too, there are 
the spell-marks best and possible and worlds, to say nothing of all. 
It does not take much examination to see that the famous statement 
of Dr. Pangloss is hardly less noisy than Lewis Carroll's " 'Twas 
brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe." One 
may be pardoned for recalling, in this connection, the following 
which appeared in a 1939 Associated Press dispatch from Wash- 
ington, D.C.: "Asked to interpret a statement in the President's 
message that the United States had no political involvements in 
Europe, Early [Secretary Stephen Early] replied that it meant 
exactly what it said." 

Questions Without Answers. What has been said above con- 
cerning statements holds also, and with particular emphasis, for 
questions. In the meaningful use of language it is a cardinal rule 
that the terminology of the question determines the terminology 
of the answer. One cannot get a clear answer to a vague question. 
The language of science is particularly distinguished by the fact that 
it centers around well-stated questions. If there is one part of a 
scientific experiment that is more important than any other part, 
it is the framing of the question that the experiment is to answer. If 
it is stated vaguely, no experiment can answer it precisely. If the 
question is stated precisely, the means of answering it are clearly 
indicated. The specific observations needed, and the conditions 
under which they are to be made, are implied in the question itself. 
As someone has very aptly put it, a fool is one who knows all the 
answers but none of the questions. 

Individuals who suffer from personality maladjustments are espe- 
cially well characterized by the fuzziness of the question which 
they persistently ask themselves. What these individuals want, 
above everything else, are answers. What keeps them awake nights, 
what puts furrows in their brows and ulcers in their stomachs, is 
the fact that they cannot satisfactorily answer their own questions. 
They persistently stump themselves. Their failure to find the 
answers that would serve to relax them is not due primarily to their 
"stupidity," or to the general impenetrability of nature, as they 
commonly suppose. It is mainly due, instead, to the fact that they 
frame their questions in such a way that no amount of genius would 

276 Report Writing 

enable them, or anyone else, to answer the questions. When 
maladjusted persons state their problems in the form of highly an- 
swerable—that is, clear and precise— questions, they frequently 
discover that their tensions are quickly and materially relieved. 
What they discover is simply that they knew the answers all the 
time; what they hadn't known was that those were the answers they 
were seeking. Their vague questions had obscured that fact. 

On Absolute Measurement * 
by N. Ernest Dorse y and Churchill Eisenhart 

Report. The work should be fully reported, so that the reader 
may know what was done, may have the means for forming an 
independent judgment of the work and for checking possible errors 
and omissions, and may have the worker's experience to build upon 
in case he himself should undertake a similar piece of work. The 
last is certainly a very important function of such a report, and 
should never be ignored. 

The report should, of course, give a clear indication of the care 
with which search was made for sources of error, and of the thought 
that was given to it. Otherwise, one has no choice but to conclude 
either that no search was made, or that the author attached no 
special importance to it. In either case, the work is of little, if any, 
objective value; its acceptance can rest only on authority, on sub- 
jective grounds. 

Data should be reported as fully as may be. But in every series 
of observations some are erratic, especially at the start. How should 
they be treated? Those that occur in the body of the work should 
certainly be reported as fully as if they were not erratic, and if the 
cause of the trouble is known, that should be explained. 

Those that occur peculiarly at the beginning of the series, arising 
mainly from maladjustment and inexperience, furnish very valuable 
information regarding details of adjustment and manipulation that 
had escaped the foresight of the worker, and that might, therefore, 
readily escape the attention of the reader and of subsequent workers. 
In certain cases they give valuable information about unsuspected 

* Excerpts quoted by permission from Dr. Eisenhart's selection (in Sci- 
entific Monthly, August, 1953) of material from Dr. Dorsey's classic "The 
Velocity of Light," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 34, 
pt. 1 ( 1944). Dr. Eisenhart is associated with the National Bureau of Standards. 

Style: Readings 277 

sources of error. For such reasons, they should never be completely 
omitted. They need not always be given in full, but they should 
be given to such an extent and in such detail as will show the reader 
what they were like and how they were related to the pertinent 
conditions, and should be accompanied by such explanatory text as 
will show him how they were regarded by the worker, and how he 
contrived to remove the disturbing conditions. 

In brief, the report should give the reader a perfectly candid 
account of the work, with such descriptions and explanations as may 
be necessary to convey the worker's own understanding and in- 
terpretation of it. Anything short of that is unfair to the writer 
as well as to the reader. Every indication that significant informa- 
tion has been omitted reduces the reader's confidence in the work. 

It is the unquestioned privilege of the worker to say where the 
boundary lies between preliminary or trial determinations, made 
primarily for studying and adjusting the apparatus and procedures, 
and those that were expected to be correct. But he should give 
good reasons for placing that boundary where he does; and those 
preliminary determinations should be reported to the extent already 

Furthermore, it is scarcely fair, to anyone concerned, to describe 
a series of determinations as "preliminary," thus implying, in ac- 
cordance with common usage, that they are open to question, that 
they are merely preparatory for something better, and then, later 
on, to include that same series in the list of good, acceptable de- 
terminations. To do so, both confuses the reader and suggests to 
him that the use of the adjective "preliminary" may have been 
merely a face-saving device intended to justify the ignoring of 
that series in case it should be found to disagree uncomfortably with 
later ones. 

Miscellaneous. To say that an observer's results are influenced 
by his preconceived opinion does not in the least imply that those 
results were not obtained and published in entire good faith. It is 
merely a recognition of the fact that it seems more profitable to seek 
for error when a result seems to be erroneous, than when it seems 
to be approximately correct. Thus reasons are found for discarding 
or modifying results that do violence to the preconceived opinion, 
while those that accord with it go untested. An observer who 
thinks that he knows approximately what he should find labors under 

278 Report Writing 

a severe handicap. His result is almost certain to err in such a 
direction as to approach the expected value. 

The size of this unconsciously introduced error is, obviously, 
severely limited by the experimenter's data, by the spread of his 
values. The smaller the spread, the smaller, in general, will be this 
error. The size will be much affected also by the circumstances of 
the work, and by the strength of the bias. If the work is strictly 
exploratory, its primary purpose being to find whether the pro- 
cedure followed is at all workable, then only a low accuracy will be 
expected, and there will be no serious attempt to explain departures 
from the expected, even though the departures be great. Conse- 
quently, this error of bias may be entirely absent from such results. 
But if the worker is striving for accuracy, then departures from the 
expected will appear to him serious; and the stronger the bias, the 
more serious will they seem. He will seek to explain them; and that 
seeking will tend, in the manner already stated, to introduce an 
error. An error arising in this way will seldom be negligible, but in 
no case should one expect it to be great, the work being done in 
good faith. 

. . . published definitive values, with their accompanying limits 
of uncertainty, are not experimental data, but merely the author's 
inferences from such data. Inferences are always subject to ques- 
tion; they may be criticized, reexamined, and revised at any time. 

... it is every author's duty to publish amply sufficient primary 
data and information to enable a reader to form a just and inde- 
pendent estimate of the confidence that may be placed in the infer- 
ences that the author has drawn therefrom. If he does not, he is 
false to both his reader and himself, and his inferences should carry 
little weight, no matter how great his reputation may be. . . . 

Indeed, values reported without such satisfactory supporting 
evidence have no objective value whatever, no matter how accurate 
they may happen to be. They rest solely on the authority of the 
reporter, who is never infallible. 

Chapter 16 


Meaning in Space * 
by Loring M. Thompson 

Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, the invention 
of printing gave a tremendous impetus to the use of written lan- 
guage. With the development of modern techniques for repro- 
ducing illustrations and charts, the graphic language of pictures, 
charts, and diagrams is now assuming greater prominence, as shown 
by its current use both in popular literature and in scholarly pub- 
lications. A full understanding of the graphic language and its 
grammar should give us a greatly expanded capacity for expression, 
insight, and reasoning. 

Although charts and graphs are being used increasingly today, 
the simple fundamentals which underlie their preparation and in- 
terpretation remain to be elucidated. Although these fundamentals 
have very broad applications, they are so simple that they might 
easily be taught in elementary schools. 

The Graphic Context of Space. In spoken and written language 
the meaning of words is determined by (a) their general definition 
which is made more specific by ( b ) the context in which the words 
are employed. The word "girl," for example, has different meanings 
in "I'm going to take my girl to the movie," and "Our first girl was 
born last month." The meaning of any particular word is modified 
by the words which come before it and after it. In this respect the 

* Quoted by permission from Etc.: A Review of General Semantics, Spring, 
1951, pp. 193 ff. Loring M. Thompson wrote "Meaning in Space" while he was 
a graduate student in the program of Education and Research in Planning, 
University of Chicago. He was formerly a member of the department of en- 
gineering drawing, Northeastern University. 


280 Report Writing 

context of verbal language is "one-dimensional." The context of 
any word must come before or after it. It cannot be above or 
below as well as before or after, as is the case in the two-dimensional 
graphic language. Herein lies a distinction between verbal and 
graphic language. 

By its very nature, the graphic language has a tremendous po- 
tential usefulness for dealing with both physical objects and abstract 
ideas. No one will contest the attractiveness and accuracy of a 
picture compared with a verbal description of a house, a horse, or a 
pretty girl. What remains to be recognized is that the same lan- 
guage is just as useful for communicating abstract relationships. It 
gives the thinker increased capacity for fruitful thinking in abstract 
realms. For example, the familiar organization chart of a business 
(Fig. 50) elucidates relationships that are not readily described in 
words. These relationships are not physical. They could not be 
photographed. Yet they are easily depicted in the graphic language. 













Figure 50. Typical Organization Chart. The relationships or structure of 
the organization in a manufacturing establishment are depicted by the spatial 
position of the boxes and the lines between them. 

Significance of Spatial Positions. Although words are an im- 
portant part of graphic charts, the words appear in a context of 

Visual Aids: Readings 


space rather than in a context of sentences. While most charts 
contain practically no verbs, the absence of verbs does not prevent 
charts from conveying ideas of existence and action. The verbs are 
replaced by the spatial relationships of the symbols on the chart. 
In the case of an organization chart these are the lines which in- 
dicate the flow of authority and information between the persons 
or departments named in the boxes. 

The outstanding feature of the graphic language is that its con- 
text of two-dimensional space gives significance to the position of 
the symbols. Symbols appearing on a chart are interpreted accord- 
ing to the context that appears on all sides— above and below as well 
as before and after. On the organization chart in Fig. 50, the 
superintendent is placed above the foreman because he is respon- 
sible for supervising the foremen. Horizontally, the chart is ar- 
ranged according to the flow of work through the shop, starting with 
the foundry and ending in the assembly department. The reason 
for placing the foundry foreman to the left is distinctly different 
from the reason for placing him in the lower part of the chart. 

The utilization of the two dimensions of the graphic language 
may also be illustrated by the listing of people according to two 

Technical Ability 



















Figure 51. Analysis of a Group of Persons from Two Different Viewpoints 
Bases of Classification. 

different bases of classification. Let us suppose that the salesmen 
of an engineering firm are classified in one list according to technical 
knowledge and in another list according to sociability. On the basis 
of technical ability, the members of the sales force rank as follows: 

282 Report Writing 

excellent— Brooks, Drury, Hale, Jenkins, and Stanpipe; good— Collins, 
Green, Jones, Hollingson, Lowell, Taber; fair— Slapper, Talker, and 
White. On the basis of sociability they rank as follows: excellent- 
Green, Hollingson, Slapper, and Talker; good— Brooks, Collins, 
Drury, Jones, Stanpipe, Reed, Taber, and White; fair— Hale, Jenkins, 
and Lowell. 

In Fig. 51, the two "one-dimensional" lists are combined into a 
two-dimensional chart. One axis of the chart is the basis of classifi- 
cation used for the first list. The second axis of the chart is the 
basis of classification used for the second list. The chart makes it 
easier to select men for particular jobs requiring varying degrees 
of sociability and technical knowledge. The chart also presents a 
much clearer picture of these two characteristics of the sales force 
and the relations between these two characteristics. 

The Grammar of Graphic Communication. What is the funda- 
mental grammar of the graphic language? What rules should be 
followed for clarity and conciseness? Fortunately the important 
fundamentals of the graphic language are much more simple than 
the grammar of English and other verbal languages. The essential 
point in the grammar of charts is that on each chart the same con- 
sistent pattern for locating symbols be employed over the entire 

The fundamental graphic grammar is illustrated by Fig. 52 in 
which the caption, "Receipts," at the top of the second column ap- 
plies to all the figures beneath it in the column. No number which 
describes receipts appears anywhere else on the table but in this 
column. Similarly, the year 1940 applies to all items on the first line 
of the table. Nothing occurring in 1940 appears anywhere else on 
the table except this first line. 

Two bases of classification may be used on all two-dimensional 
tables and charts. On Fig. 52 the years listed on the left make up 
one basis of classification, a chronological basis. The two column 
headings make up the other basis of classification, the nature of the 
transaction— whether a receipt or expenditure. One basis of classifi- 
cation is set up horizontally and each of its designations applies to 
everything above or below it. The other basis is set up vertically 
and each of its designations applies to everything on the same level 

The scales on a numerical chart, such as Fig. 53, serve essentially 
the same function as the captions and stubs on a table. On Fig. 53, 

Visual Aids: Readings 283 

all points representing 1948 are placed directly above their number 
on the horizontal scale. Readers who are familiar with mathe- 
matical coordinate systems will recognize that these systems may 
be applied to charts with many types of symbols, giving symbols 
distinct meanings according to their location with respect to the 
coordinate system of a particular chart. 


Treasury Department 
United States of America 






$ 71 

























Source: Treasury Dept. Annual Statements 

Figure 52. Numerical Table. The meaning of the numbers is interpreted 
according to their position in space rather than in the context of sentences. 

Following the rules of their grammar outline above, all properly 
constructed charts and tables have a consistency of meaning for the 
positions of the component symbols. Sometimes this is defined by 
verbal or numerical scales as in Figs. 52 and 53. In other cases 
the scales are inferred by the reader. On the typical organization 
chart, as in Fig. 50, it is apparent that the chart was drawn in con- 
formity with a theoretical vertical scale of authority running from 
top to bottom. If such a theoretical scale were not followed, an 
organization chart could become very confusing, as shown in 
Fig. 54. 

We see then that the fundamental principle of graphic language 
is concerned with the significance of each part of the graphic area. 
This significance may be explicitly defined by numerical or verbal 
scales, or it may be apparent from the nature of the chart. In any 


Report Writing 

event, the defined graphic area provides a context that gives each 
symbol greater meaning than it would have if used in a context of 
writing or conversation. 

Increased Capacity of Language. With an understanding of 
graphic fundamentals we have greatly increased the capacity of 
our language. If there is any question about this point, translate 
into sentences all of the information contained in Figs. 50 and 52. 
Compare the sentences with the graphic representation from the 
standpoint of attractiveness, clarity, speed of comprehension, and 
ease of retention. 


Treasury Department 
United States of America 





' Expen 









— ^ 








Figure 53. Line Chart. As in organization charts and numerical tables, the 
spatial position of the symbols, lines in this instance, determines their signifi- 

In a world torn apart by conflicting relationships and viewpoints, 
graphic language should be a useful tool for dealing intelligently 
with current problems. By using the two dimensions of a chart we 
may consider simultaneously two different viewpoints or bases of 
classification. In both physical and social sciences we are becoming 
increasingly aware that the relations between things are more im- 
portant than the things "in themselves." Indeed, Korzybski has 
said that relations and structure are the only content of knowledge. 

Visual Aids: Readings 


Graphic language aids immensely in thinking about problems in 
structural terms. 

Perhaps more important than the capacity of graphic language 
to facilitate communication is its capacity to facilitate insight and 
reasoning. Man visualized long before he verbalized. In compari- 
son with visualization, verbalization is a more laborious process 
of translating ideas and relationships into a code of words and sen- 
tences. According to psychologists, a great deal of man's thinking 
is visual rather than verbal or at least a combination of the two. 

Figure 54. Confusing Pattern for an Organization Chart. Are the boxes on 
the right intended to be subordinate to the box in the upper left? 

With an understanding of graphic language, the path is opened 
for more natural and direct thinking, even about the structure and 
relationships of abstract ideas. With the increased capacity of 
graphic language as a part of one's thinking, it naturally becomes 
the medium for personal understanding of complex matters and 
also the medium for initial insight leading to new fields of scientific 


Report Writing 







Refinement of line 




Weight of type 

Figure 55. Verbal Table of a Comparison of Techniques of Communication. 
Are the various techniques simply applications of all-inclusive fundamental 

Figure 55 shows that three important forms of expression- 
graphic, oral and written— have certain elements in common. If 
this were not true, it would be just as sensible to place "enunciation" 
in the first line opposite "pause," for example. More rigorous proof 
of the common elements would be difficult to establish, but an 


Message in Originator's Mind 





Message understood by Receiver 

Figure 56. A Graphic Definition of Communication. Effectiveness of com- 
munication may be increased by the coordination of graphic, oral, and written 

Visual Aids: Readings 287 

initial insight of their possible existence is worth following up to 
see if any useful ideas may be associated with it. 

If there are several different forms of expression which involve 
common elements, then the chances for effective communication 
of a message would be increased by the coordinated use of all 
channels of expression. Some persons may respond more readily 
to the graphic form of the message and others to the oral form. 
If the common elements in each form of expression have been 
applied successfully, then the different forms should be mutually 
reinforcing. In the cinema, for example, the tempo of the music 
reinforces the emotional climax of the plot. In an ordinary conver- 
sation, a person's gestures should be in keeping with his words. If 
they are not, then a personality disturbance may be indicated. 
Although some artists scorn the use of words to elucidate and 
reinforce the message of their paintings, teachers find they must 
provide both verbal and graphic explanation so that students may 
achieve a greater appreciation of the artist and comprehend his 
message. The concept of coordinated expression for effective com- 
munication is expressed graphically in Fig. 56. 

The Problem of Language. Of course, graphic language, like 
all others, has its limitations. At best, language is only a link 
between the reality of the outside world and the concepts or 
thoughts in people's minds. Students of semantics have pointed 
out that strong emotional reactions are often caused by words 
alone. In many cases an emotional blockage may be minimized 
by greater use of graphic language. For the representation of 
physical objects, the structure of the picture-symbol bears some re- 
semblance to the object being portrayed— the shape and propor- 
tions of the picture are similar to those of the object— whereas verbal 
representation is entirely abstract and symbolic. To a lesser de- 
gree, the use of spatial axes clarifies abstract relationships and 
avoids some of the dangers and difficulties in bridging the gap 
between symbols and reality. 

For improved understanding, there should be an alignment be- 
tween (a) outside things and events, (b) the language used, and 
(c) a person's evaluations of things and events. To insure under- 
standing and rapport between two people, both of them should 
have the same alignment, as indicated in Fig. 57. Absence of this 
double alignment readily leads to confusion. People often regret 

288 Report Writing 

that they have said one thing when they meant another. Current 
diplomatic negotiations have indicated that words of agreement 
do not necessarily mean agreement on basic definitions or action. 
Witness the various interpretations placed on "democracy." There 












Figure 57. A Graphic Portrayal of the Problem of Language of Bridging 
the Gap Between Things and Thoughts. It is difficult enough to achieve this 
rapport with respect to simple physical objects, let alone abstract ideas such as 
democracy, justice, and so forth. 

is no magic language that can bridge the gap between things, 
symbols, and thoughts. This paragraph has attempted to define 
the problem more clearly by coordinated use of graphic and writ- 
ten language. 

One of the limitations of graphic language is the difficulty of 
using more than the two-dimensional context of a flat page in order 
to include a greater number of viewpoints on the same chart. This 
difficulty is not insurmountable from a technical standpoint since 
there is no theoretical limit to the number of axes which may be 
conceived mathematically. Techniques have been devised for show- 
ing on flat pages maps of three-dimensional mountains. Similar 
techniques may be employed for the graphic portrayal of the rela- 

Visual Aids: Readings 


tionship and structure of abstract ideas but with some sacrifice of 
popular appeal and clarity. Nevertheless, the joint study of mathe- 
matics and graphic representation promises to increase the effec- 
tiveness of everyday language for both thinking and communication. 

Illustrating the Technical Presentation * 
by Thomas S. Michener, Jr. 

Although most scientific reports are not primarily planned to 
produce attractive pages in a publication, some well illustrated re- 
ports approach this result. 

Usually this effectiveness does not occur by chance, but is pro- 
duced by carefully prepared, adequate illustrations. This paper is 
intended to assist authors who wish to improve their reports by 
learning to plan and produce better technical illustrations. 

The achievement of a coordinated, illustrated report requires 
more than haphazardly tracing curves from the experimenter's note- 
book. Each chart or illustration that is to serve as an interesting 
focus in the text, as well as an aid to understanding, must receive 
ample consideration. To be most useful, the illustration must show 
data in ways that give the reader an instant comprehension of the 

1000 PPM COD.' 


C0 t 

a - wiv. 

h e 


o°.vir. «o 

600 PPM. COD. 


15 -20% SOLIDS 

40-60 PPM COD 

Figure 58. Good Diagram of a Process. 

* Quoted by permission from Journal of Chemical Education, June, 1954, 
p. 318. Thomas S. Michener, Jr., is associated with Eastern Regional Research 
Laboratory, Philadelphia, Pa., one of the laboratories of the Bureau of Agri- 
cultural and Industrial Chemistry, Agricultural Research Administration, U.S. 
Dept. of Agriculture. 

290 Report Writing 

Since illustrations are usually conceived when the author is con- 
centrating on writing his manuscript, they may easily fail to receive 
proper attention. Therefore it is suggested that as the first step 
toward good charts and graphs the author give more thought to 
their selection, content, and form. 

Selection. How can the data be illustrated to best advantage? 
The answer to this question depends entirely on the subject of 
the report. The author should examine his data carefully and make 
a preliminary selection of items for possible illustration. He should 
then review this list to eliminate repetition but still be sure the 
subject is covered. An attempt should be made to provide the most 
interesting illustration for the most important part of the topic. 
Since each illustration is placed close to its reference in the text, 
the sequence of the illustrations will follow the progress of the 
work being reported. In some cases, the effort to provide good 
continuity in the illustrations may suggest changes in the arrange- 
ment of the text. If a change will produce a clearer exposition or 
greater emphasis, it should be made. Illustrations and text should 
combine to give a clear, unified statement. 

Form and Content. Careful consideration should be given to 
the form and content of each drawing. To select the best form, the 
author needs to be familiar with the different types of drawings 
and their proper usage. The type of illustration most frequently 
used is the graph with a continuous curve showing the relationship 
of variables. This type of illustration is easily understood by the 
reader and when properly prepared is generally pictorially satisfying. 

The continuous curve should not be used to illustrate periodic 
data. It gives the reader an erroneous idea of continuity of rela- 
tionship that does not exist. The proper form of illustration for 
showing static values is the bar graph. Bar graphs may show more 
than one set of values, each series being identified by its particular 
cross-hatching. The bars may also consist of rows of symbols, such 
as silhouette drawings or dollar marks, which identify them. 

It is suggested that some form of "pie" chart be used when the 
data show the relative parts of a whole. This easily constructed 
diagram does not appear as frequently as it might. Because the eye 
is able to compare both the area and central angle of one sector 
with any of the others in the chart, the reader easily grasps and 
retains the relative proportion of the parts demonstrated this way. 

Visual Aids: Readings 


Drawings of apparatus and equipment also require considerable 
thought. There is a distinct difference between working drawings 
and illustrations. Working drawings should never be published 
with reports, since the many details required for correct manufac- 
ture of the equipment are not needed by the reader. The drawing 
that illustrates equipment or apparatus for a report must be made 
as simple as possible; all details except those to which the text 
refers should be eliminated. Illustrations of technical apparatus 
should be clear, well proportioned, and labeled with the names or 
functions of the parts. There should be no crowded or confusing 
areas on the drawing. 

Figure 59. Confusing Diagram. 

Figure 58 illustrates a good diagram of a process; it is simple, 
direct, and easy to understand. Figure 59 gives an example of the 
confusion caused by including too many details. 

In attempting to work out the details of any illustration, it should 
always be borne in mind that there is a limit to the material that 
may be included in one drawing. This limit may be understood 
if the author assumes that some of his readers or audience are un- 
familiar with the data. This unfamiliariry requires that compli- 
cated ideas should be explained in small, easily understood steps. 
If the author fails to recognize and stay within the bounds of 
assimilable illustrations, his readers or listeners will miss important 
points and lose interest. Crowded drawings may easily confuse the 
subject rather than clarify it. Furthermore, the author will find that 
limiting the quantity of data will simplify making the drawing. 

292 Report Writing 

Lantern Slides. When a lantern slide is to be made, it is recom- 
mended that the drawing be made to fit the size and shape of a 
slide opening. Fortunately, prepared commercial slide masks are 
made with openings of many shapes and sizes, so that this is not 
difficult. It should be pointed out, however, that only the large 
openings having a greater width than height use the screen space 
efficiently when projected. The table gives dimensions of the open- 
ings in some of the more frequently used slide sizes. 

Suggested Sizes of Drawings for Lantern Slide Openings 

Lantern Slide Opening 


Width, Height, 
inches inches 

Width, Height, 
inches inches 

2% 2M 
3 2& 
3 1% 

2% 2% 
2% 2% 

9% 8 

8/4 8 

8 8% 
8 9% 

Instead of allowing the photographer who makes the slide to 
choose the mask opening to fit the drawing, it would be better for 
the author to plan the drawing proportion to fit a definite slide 
opening. The most satisfactory arrangement is for the author to 
select a slide opening and make the drawing three to four times 
larger. If the drawing is made larger than this, it will be more 
difficult to gage the proper thickness of lines and size of the letter- 
ing. If it is smaller, the inevitable imperfections in drafting will 
be greatly magnified when the slide is shown on the screen. An- 
other advantage to be found in using a drawing three to four times 
the size of the slide is that it fits a standard letter-size sheet of 
paper. The drawing sizes in the table, which are between three 
and four times the size of the slide, all fit the standard letter-size 
paper. All numbers, captions and clear space for a border should 
be included within these dimensions. 

Selecting Scales for Graphs. When the drawing for a slide is 
to consist of a graph containing one or more curves, the scale for 
the ordinate and abscissa should be carefully selected to make the 
size of the significant data as large as possible. It would be good 
practice to plot the data first as a rough draft on any graph paper 

Visual Aids: Readings 293 

available. If the first plotting does not produce a satisfactory graph, 
a larger or smaller scale may be tried for one or both of the coordi- 
nates to improve the appearance, increase the legibility, and pro- 
duce proportions that will fit the slide opening. It almost invariably 
helps at this stage to consult the draftsman who is to make the 
finished drawing. When the graph seems to be suitable for the 
final drawing, it would be well to ask a few questions about the ap- 
pearance of the sketch. For instance, will the data fill the available 
space effectively? Will there be ample space for proper line thick- 
ness and lettering? Will the slide be too crowded for instant com- 
prehension by an audience whose attention may be diverted by 
normal auditorium noises? 

In "Aids to Technical Writing," Jordan and Edwards (I) state: 
"It is recommended that a single slide contain not more than 20 
words, including the title, and present only one idea." They also 
make the following statement about this type of chart: "If curves 
presented on charts are not of the same slope and family, it is recom- 
mended that, for clarity, not more than three curves be shown on 
a single slide." 

Figure 60 demonstrates the effects of overcrowding. The differ- 
ent angles of slope and the crossing of the curves cause confusion. 
Figure 61 shows the maximum number of curves that should be 
drawn on one chart, even though they all be similar. 

In regard to the use of tabular data for slides, Jordan and Ed- 
wards state: "The use of tables should be avoided wherever pos- 
sible in oral presentation of scientific data. . . . Detailed tables are 
impossible to comprehend when flashed on the screen for a short 
period of time. Furthermore, it is generally found that only a few 
of the values presented in the tables are actually discussed by the 
speaker, and little, if any, reference is made to the remaining mate- 
rial." If the author is inclined to use several tables for slides, he 
should suspect that he has not given enough thought to the audi- 
ence's reception of his material. He may be trying to give too 
many data without proper predigestion and selection. If the in- 
formation can be converted to a graphic illustration, the audience 
will be able to understand it more quickly and more thoroughly. 
Tables should be used only if there is no way to illustrate the mate- 
rial by means of a graph or chart. If tables are necessary, no more 
than 16 items should be included, each word or three-digit number 
being counted as an item. 


Report Writing 

2 3 4 5 


Figure 60. Overcrowded Chart. 

Lines for Lettering. Another difficulty often encountered by 
the technical author— selecting the size of the lettering and thick- 
ness of lines— can easily be overcome by planning slide drawings 
for the sheet sizes recommended in the table. Jordan and Edwards 
( 1 ) show that if the drawing is made approximately three times the 
size of a proposed slide, the minimum size of the lettering should 
be that produced by No. 140 lettering guide (Wrico or Leroy) and 
the minimum line thickness on the drawing should be 0.008 inch 
(or 0.2 mm.) for background grid, guide, and dimension lines. 
When an open-background chart is used, the scale-division marks 
along the border should be approximately twice this thickness. 
Border lines and letter strokes should be heavier still, and the curves, 
which are the most important feature of the chart, should be thick- 
est of all (not less than 0.03 inch or 0.75 mm.). Uniformity of 
thickness of the lines throughout their length is important in work 

Visual Aids: Readings 295 

that is to be reproduced photographically; thin spots may fail 

Making the Finished Drawing. If the author is making his own 
finished drawings, he would do well to observe the precautions 
listed below. He may also find them useful when checking the work 
of others. 

(a) Restrict the number of scale division marks or background 
grid lines to the few needed for approximate readings only. Inter- 
ested persons will no doubt request copies of the numerical data. 

(b) Grid rulings should not run through lettering or data sym- 
bols, but may cross curves without interruption. 

(c) Use simple, easy-to-reproduce data points. The simplest is 
an open circle having an outside diameter three to four times the 
thickness of the curve. Its line thickness should be one-third to 
one-half the thickness of the curve. Use, in the following order, the 
solid round dot (two and one-half times the curve thickness), the 
open square, and the open triangle. The square and triangle should 
fit in a circle five to six times the thickness of the curve, and their 
lines should have the same thickness as the open circle. 

(d) When curves represent experimental results, it is good prac- 
tice to include the points on the drawing. 

(e) When data points cause crowding or confusion, omit some 
of them. The important feature of the drawing from the reader's 
point of view is the curve, not the points. 

(/) In general, use solid lines for curves. However, variations 
in the type of line used for curves on the same chart give more 
positive differentiation than do varied data points. If lines are 
varied, use, in the following order, the solid line, then lines consist- 
ing of long dashes, short dashes, dots, and alternating dots and 

(g) Maintain uniformity of symbols and lines throughout the 
series of drawings. 

(h) Identify all curves, parts of apparatus, processes, and mate- 
rials by adjacent horizontal labels, placed so that there can be no 
mistake about the label that applies to the item. If necessary, use 
arrows to tie the label to the item. Labels should be brief, not 
more than two long words or three short ones. 

(t) Mark coordinates at the left and along the bottom. The 
American Standards Association (2) recommends that the depend- 

296 Report Writing 

ent variable be placed vertically along the ordinate, and the inde- 
pendent data across the abscissa, from left to right. The captions 
for these numerical values should be given in plain vertical letters 
and should state what is measured or represented, followed by the 
unit of measurement (for example: TIME, HOURS). A simple 
system of numbering, consisting of multiples of 5 or 10, should be 

(/') On drawings of apparatus or equipment, include dimensions 
or other means of establishing the scale. 

(k) In lettering the drawing, leave a space between the letters 
at least twice the thickness of the letter stroke. Between words and 
between lines use a space equal to or greater than the height of the 
letters. It is the white, open space around the letters or symbols 
that makes them legible. 

Some of these suggestions were taken from the American Stand- 
ards Association (2); others are the result of personal experience. 
The list could be amplified with many more "do's" and "don't's," 
but the items omitted will be taken care of by good drafting prac- 
tice and common sense. It should be emphasized that the author 
is always responsible for accuracy regardless of who prepares the 

Typewriter Slides. A typewriter may be used for lettering 
drawings for slides when other means are unavailable, if the size of 
the drawing is proportioned to fit the smaller lettering. "Radio- 
Mats" can also be used. These devices, made of cardboard and 
cellophane, produce legible slides when used for typewritten mate- 
rial. The space available for typing limits the words and numbers 
that can be included. Typed lettering on "Radio-Mats" will usually 
project legibly, but graphs or other drawings are beyond their limi- 
tations. It is better to draw directly on the window with India 
ink, although this cannot be expected to adhere very long. 

When prepared devices are not available and slides are required 
urgently, it is also possible to use cellophane or other clear sheeting 
in the same way that "Radio-Mats" are used. Typing can be made 
to adhere if carbon paper is placed in the typewriter so that both 
sides of the slide will receive the impression. J. L. Wilson (3) also 
suggests cardboard stiffening masks for this type of work. 

When the minimum sizes of lettering recommended by Jordan 
and Edwards (1) are used, the maximum drawing size should be 

Visual Aids: Readings 297 

2.1 times the slide opening for pica type and 1.9 times for elite 
type ( the usual large and small typewriter types ) . These measure- 
ments will give rectangles within which to work, including all draw- 
ings, typing, and borders. 

When the lettering is done by typewriter, sharp results can be 
obtained by using a new ribbon and a good grade of glossy, white 
paper. Do not try to erase mistakes; it cannot be done easily and 
is rarely successful. Alterations should be made by typing the 
correction on a separate piece of paper and cementing it in place 
with rubber cement. 

Checking the Slide. A simple way to determine whether a 
slide will project well is to inspect it from a distance of 20 inches. 
If all parts can be distinguished easily when it is held toward a 
well-lighted, light-colored surface, it will project satisfactorily. Simi- 
larly, if a drawing three times the size of the finished slide can 
be read easily at three times 20 inches, a well made slide from this 
drawing will also be satisfactory. 

Drawings for Publication. When an author is planning to pub- 
lish an illustrated manuscript in a technical publication, he should 
first examine several copies of the periodical. He should notice the 
details of the illustrations, keeping in mind that the drawings have 
been photographically reduced to conserve space and make the cut 
fit the width of the column. In technical periodicals the column 
may be from 2% to 6 inches wide. The difference between the 
width of the proposed drawing and the column width will deter- 
mine the amount of reduction the drawing will require. Unlike 
drawings for slides, drawings for publication may have an elastic 
vertical dimension. The vertical size of illustrations may be ex- 
panded or compressed to emphasize some aspect of the data or 
reduce its importance with respect to horizontal components. Care- 
ful consideration and consultation at this time with the draftsman 
or other authors often result in changes that improve the visual im- 
pact of the data or make rapid comprehension easier for the reader. 

Another difference between drawings for publication and those 
for slides is the amount of reduction required for good results. 
Drawings for slides should allow enough reduction to reduce imper- 
fections so that they will not be noticeable when greatly enlarged 
on a screen. Drawings for publication, however, need only mod- 
erate reduction. If it were not for the difficulty of drawing thin 

298 Report Writing 

lines and microscopic lettering, these drawings could be prepared 
for exact-size reproduction. 

To avoid some of the difficulties in drafting, it is recommended 

that drawings for publication be planned to allow a reduction in 

width of one-third to two-thirds. This reduction requires that the 

90i , 





u 60 







</> *n- 






400 500 600 700 


Figure 61. Maximum Material for a Chart. 

width of the drawing be one and one-half to three times the width 
of the finished cut. The height of the drawing should then be 
planned to show the data to advantage but not waste space. It 
would be well at this time to consider the proportions of rectangular 
drawings. To avoid awkward rectangles, Hambidge (4) suggested 
the use of one of the following ratios: 1.414 to 1.0, 1.732 to 1.0, 
1.0 to 1.0, 2.0 to 1.0, and 2.236 to 1.0. These ratios are based on 
measurements of many buildings and art objects. 

Visual Aids: Readings 


Lines and lettering should next receive attention. Since in a 
finished cut lines thinner than 0.006 inch may fail to reproduce 
properly in spots, it would appear advisable to use this as a mini- 
mum and determine the thickness of lines on the drawing by means 



Figure 62. Dimetric Illustration of Three-Dimensional Data. 

of the ratio of width of drawing to width of cut. Other lines 
should be proportionately thicker as described under drawings for 

To be legible, lettering on a finished cut should never be less 
than y ie inch high. The minimum size of lettering on the draw- 
ing can be determined by using the ratio indicated above. Lettering 
should be plain and neatly spaced. In general, to provide interest 

300 Report Writing 

and contrast with the grey body of text, the lines and lettering 
should be larger and heavier than the minimum recommended. 

Sheet Size. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that drawings 
both for slides and publication should be made on letter-size sheets. 
Drawings smaller than the standard 8 by 10& inches or 8J2 by 11 
inches may be easily lost, because envelopes and filing cabinets are 
made for this size sheet. Drawings larger than letter size cause 
great inconvenience, because they require folding or rolling to be 
mailed or stored. If larger drawings are necessary, they should 
be in multiples of this size. 

Reader Interest. At some point in the process of illustrating his 
manuscript, the author might well think about the effect his draw- 
ings will have on the reader or audience. A report may be remem- 
bered for either of two reasons— because of interest in the subject 
or because it is presented in an unusual way. Compare the average 
scientific report with articles in technical periodicals intended for 
the general public. Much of the effectiveness of the latter is a 
result of dramatic illustrations. 

Has anyone tried publishing a technical report that contains 
nothing but illustrations, their captions, the summary, and the bibli- 
ography? Possibly a time may come when words will be accessory 
to illustrations in the technical field, as in today's pictorial news- 
magazines. Many readers will recall attending excellent seminar 
lectures that consisted entirely of slides with a brief discourse about 
each. Usually, however, this proportion of words to illustrations 
is not retained when the report is published. 

For an exposition of a way to reduce statistics to a striking 
image-language story on a chart, the reader is referred to "How 
to Use Pictorial Statistics," by Rudolf Modley (5). Rasic rules 
are given for the production of striking charts. The author empha- 
sizes that considerable study is needed to present statistics with the 
strongest graphic effect, but states that it is well worth the effort. 

The type of drawing can of itself stimulate the reader's interest. 
The drawings easiest to comprehend are the isometric, dimetric, 
and perspective projections with parts "exploded" or cut away to 
show the hidden details. Plastic drawing guides and special, per- 
spective sketch books are now available for making these drawings, 
including the ellipses of many shapes and sizes needed for this 
work. These systems can be extremely effective when used for 

Visual Aids: Readings 301 

flow diagrams and equipment illustrations. Figure 62 shows an 
unusual dimetric chart that illustrates data with three variables. 

Color can be used on lantern slides to make them attractive and 
to help distinguish the parts. An easy method is to have the chart 
reproduced as a negative of the correct size for a slide, and then 
color the separate curves or bars with photographer's transparent 
water colors. This kind of work will probably be confined to slides, 
because few journals are equipped for profuse color printing. 

Eye-catching devices such as these can make a scientific report 
stand out from the average hard-to-read treatise. Many authors 
will no doubt conceive still other methods of enriching their reports. 

Literature Cited. 

( 1 ) Jordan, R. C, and M. J. Edwards, "Aids to Technical Writing," Minn. 

Engin. Expt. Sta. Bui. 21, 1944. 

(2) American Standards Association, "Engineering and Scientific Charts for 

Lantern Slides," Standard No. Z15.1, New York, 1932. 

(3) Wilson, J. L., J. Chem. Edna, 8, 2212 (1931). 

(4) Hambidge, J., Elements of Dynamic Symmetry, Brentano's, New York, 

1926, pp. 17 ff. 

(5) Modley, R., How to Use Pictorial Statistics, Harper & Bros., New York, 


Top-Level Sales Communications * 
hy James K. Blake 

A truism that has come to mean more and more to sales execu- 
tives is that the primary function of a report is to communicate 
something. A second truism that haunts the sales vice-president 
with an overloaded brief case is that an executive is only as good 
as his sources of information. To those, add a third. A man can 
only absorb and act upon a limited quantity of facts in a given 
time. Then, balance all three against the undeniable fact that effec- 
tive sales management must work with more tools and more com- 
pany departments (as well as outside consultants) than ever before 
and you end up with some of the reasons why companies are stream- 
lining their reporting procedures. Their objective: more informa- 
tion in more usable form— faster! 

For some general idea of the changes that are taking place and 
the tightening up processes that are going on, take a look at 
the Lukens Steel Company. Says Market Development Manager 

* Abridged by permission from Dun's Review and Modern Industry, January, 
1954. James K. Blake is Marketing Editor of the magazine. 

302 Report Writing 

Faunce, "If we are to influence the flow of goods, we must know 
all the factors of competition, the bases of product acceptance, the 
channels of distribution, the alignment of promotion effort and 
services that accompany these services." 

Commercial Research Manager Aires points out it's not enough 
to know your own costs and methods. He explains, "By analysis 
of our customer's industry we can help the fabricator aim his sales 
activities. We can show him where his markets are going. We're 
spending roughly 50 per cent of our commercial research time help- 
ing customers find and develop their markets. The key to our 
part of the steel business is better service and this means that, 
somehow, we've got to put money in the customer's pocket." 

For Sales Vice-President Wiese, the progressive shift in market- 
ing approach meant a heavier stream of factual reports and a new 
flood of purely qualitative information that had to be evaluated 
and acted upon. It was apparent that some type of reporting 
method would have to be developed to bring the dozens of separate, 
though interrelated, facts together to give them perspective and 

The first job was to streamline the commercial research depart- 
ment and to open up the chain of communications so that all market 
facts would flow to one source. One of the first discoveries was 
that their fund of external marketing data was incomplete for some 
industries. Another was that, and this is not unusual, many facts 
that should have been flowing to sales management were com- 
pactly stored in the heads and files of other management personnel. 
And, again a typical experience, many of the management reposi- 
tories were unaware that other executives were in need of the facts 
they, themselves, took for granted. 

An important offshoot of this development is the recent creation 
of what Lukens calls its "Market Facts Board." The board is a 
large panel about eight by eleven feet which will hold up to 60 
charts. On it, plotted for trends, is most of the operating informa- 
tion that sales management needs to know. The significance of the 
board is reflected in its heavy use by the top sales team. Actually, 
little information is charted that was not available somewhere in 
some form in the company before, but the fact that it is now col- 
lected and presented clearly in one place makes it seem, as one 
executive said, "as though I'm looking at different facts." 

In a sense he is, because the addition of visual aids here results 
in clearer communication of shifting, complex relationships. Back- 

Visual Aids: Readings 303 

stopping the faster communication of facts to sales and other 
Lukens' executives is the commercial research department which 
schedules thirteen meetings a year to brief management and inter- 
pret trends in terms of external ( national ) as well as internal ( com- 
pany) movements. 

Aside from these periodic briefings, the Market Facts Board is 
always available for all executives. Lukens keeps it in Market- 
man Faunce's office for refresher purposes and the pipe-line to 
commercial research for additional views is kept open. As the sig- 
nificance of speed in the transmission of fact becomes more evident 
—as it has already in sales management's improved grasp of the 
total picture— new ways are being found to hurry up the evaluation 
of raw data. Recently, for example, most of Lukens' major cus- 
tomers were recoded on IBM cards in terms of their major markets, 
total sales, and so on. As a result, Lukens' sales management now 
get a quicker, better picture of its markets and also saw a solid 
promotional tool in the making. Result: A quarterly letter now 
goes to Lukens' customers discussing market trends in the cus- 
tomer's industry and in the customers markets! 

In Chicago a similar problem resulted recently in a somewhat 
similar solution. The Admiral Corporation last summer developed 
a centralized report room to service its sales executives. Admiral's 
basic dilemma is typical of many firms. Every month and every 
week literally tens of thousands of market facts come flooding in 
( "Distributor A moved fourteen units of Model X during such and 
such a period"). No executive can review and analyze them all. 
He'd have no time to be an executive. And if he did study them 
all, he'd have wasted most of his time anyway because he would not 
have enough time left to do anything about most of them. 

Admiral's answer is a "Sales Intelligence Room" which shows 
carefully summarized results on wall charts arranged at eye level. 
They're easy to prepare and easy to read and they leave the center 
of the room free for action-planning conferences. They are in- 
stantly available for reference. 

With a system of tabular reports (the conventional type), there 
would be a choice between a delayed final report and a series of 
incomplete interim reports. Now charts begin to change as soon as 
the first statistics are received and analysis and planning can start 
without delay. 

Eastman Kodak's vice-president in charge of sales and advertis- 
ing, James E. McGhee, says of the written reports he reads: "What 

304 Report Writing 

I see is a part of a steady flow." As the reports move into McGhee's 
office from the accounting and treasurer's office, many of them via 
the chief statistician's branch, any break in an orderly trend is easily 
spotted and the telephone usually brings the answers. Vice-Presi- 
dent McGhee points out that he can hardly be out of touch with 
production and inventory developments because two or three times 
each day he runs into or has lunch ( only once per day ) with execu- 
tives responsible for those areas. 

Beyond the daily reports, however, EK has developed a system 
designed to take many of the headaches out of its sensitively sea- 
sonal business. Once each month Mr. McGhee attends a series of 
meetings. The purpose of these sessions is to put meat on the bones 
of the daily and weekly reports, through additional interpretation 
and group discussion, and to facilitate coordination of production 
and sales planning. Whereas the weekly reports show sales 
by products, branches, and distributors in almost traditional 
fashion with the usual breakdowns and comparisons with past 
periods, the monthly seminars are patterned to help sales and 
production management plan for the immediate and long-range 

The reports as presented in these meetings all originate in widely 
separated company departments. But, before top sales manage- 
ment sees them, they have been culled by Chief Statistician King's 
department and adapted to bring out the facts that the key men 
need to know. Early in the evolution of the seminars there was 
naturally a considerable amount of experimenting with different 
types of presentations. Management knew, of course, what major 
items should be included, but it took some living with the figures 
before the supporting data included became standardized. And 
even now, the reporting departments check up periodically to see 
how important sales considers the various studies that flow across 
their desks. 

The central thought that emerges from a study of reporting pro- 
cedures in these and other firms is that it is a rare executive who 
is able to grasp both the details and the broad picture of company 
operations and act on the information. In order for the top sales 
staff to function efficiently in an administrative and a creative sense, 
they must get an assist from one or more of the staff departments. 
Normally, the key supporting department is commercial research, 
sometimes billed as the statistical department. 

Visual Aids: Readings 305 

Because sales management is a relative newcomer to the adminis- 
trative field, there are frequently organizational roadblocks to break 
through before efficient communications with the major supporting 
department or section can be set up. This is particularly true in 
companies where a long-established commercial research depart- 
ment has been functioning under the budget of another group, 
the treasurer's department, for example. The problem then, natu- 
rally, is the one of disturbing old work-patterns during the creation 
of new ones, as the research people design the new type of analytic 
summary reports the sales department requires. 

Occasionally this means that market specialists attached to the 
sales department must be reassigned to the research department 
in order to integrate the entire technical reporting procedures. In 
some firms the fairly generalized commercial research group— in 
terms of specialized functions— has been split up and the smaller 
group servicing both the advertising and sales departments assigned 
to their budget. 

Visual aids, which are becoming extremely important in com- 
munication of technical information, are no better than the amount 
of information they transmit in a given time. The companies studied 
in this article find that to get fast understanding, the techniques 
themselves must be easy to understand. In other words, the me- 
dium must not stand in the way of the matter. Logarithmic scales, 
for example, are a waste of effort because the typical sales execu- 
tive is not familiar with them. 

But the heavier emphasis on visual aids is part of a definite re- 
porting trend. Another part of the same trend is the summary 
report, a reflection of the fact that top sales management is being 
forced to delegate authority as functions become more specialized. 
Some sales executives still insist on full reports with supporting data 
—but it's a moot point whether they read them in toto. 

Periodic seminars or briefing of the top sales team serves the 
same end as the summary report and the use of visual aids. They 
bring together all of the myriad facts that facilitate analysis of 
operations. Some companies with a tightly knit policy and plan- 
ning team are able to by-pass most of these techniques because 
they communicate informally and daily. These, however, are the 
exceptions to a growing trend toward delegation of responsibility 
and reliance on facts and conclusions gathered by others. In a real 
sense, it suggests that sales management is coming into bloom. 

Chapter 17 


Internal Reports — Too Much Taper Work? * 

In order to maintain and improve their business health during 
the next 12 months or so, most firms will have to know exactly 
where they stand— in terms of costs, margins, quality, and efficiency. 
Fortunately, it is possible, by following a few ground rules, to 
minimize the irritations and frustrations connected with internal 

First, don't ask for data you don't use. Executives operating with 
a limited staff tend to insist on more daily or weekly reports than 
they can possibly digest; and this attitude often filters down to the 
lower levels, with the result that operating personnel spend almost 
as much time collecting figures as doing their main job. Current 
reports should be reviewed with the idea of eliminating all those 
which haven't been put to any practical use in three months or 
more. Facts still being compiled in a form that no longer meets 
current needs, and "temporary" reports that turned out to be per- 
manent because management never set cut-off dates, are other things 
to watch for. 

Second, let clerks collect the figures. Though operating execu- 
tives should carry final responsibility and should maintain interest 
in the figures, they ought not to carry the clerical burden. On the 
other hand, assigning the whole chore to the main office in order 
to minimize interference with the operating jobs increases chances 
for error in transmission and complicates checking or verification. 
If someone on the spot maintains the necessary records, the depart- 

* Quoted by permission from the Management Review, December, 1952. 
The full article originally appeared as Operations Report, Research Institute 
of America, Inc., September 9, 1952. 


Special Applications to Business and Engineering 307 

ment in question will be more "figure-minded" and have fewer 

Third, don't send reports to people who aren't concerned. Im- 
portant reports should be prepared with the receiving department or 
executive in mind; chief shipping clerks, for example, don't need a 
full detailed copy of next week's production schedule. A wise idea 
is to circulate a list of current reports periodically, so that execu- 
tives can check those they wish to receive. 

Fourth, see to it that reports come in early enough to he of use. 
Reports with no immediate operating application are often turned 
out long before others that could be used immediately. Too, the 
bookkeeping department must be made to recognize that absolute 
accuracy or completeness is not always required in these internal 
reports and that it is senseless to hold up budgets or cash and 
cost projections for a few minor entries. 

Fifth, make sure that the significance of each report is clear to 
the reader. Where executives insist on receiving fully detailed re- 
ports, each report should be preceded by a half -page summary of 
the few exceptional occurrences, so that the reader can spot the 
points that require his attention. A top sheet that summarizes the 
week-to-week or month-to-month trend and reflects its effect on 
the company's costs, margins, and cash position will increase the 
utility of the report. 

E = MC 2 * 

by Albert Einstein 

In order to understand the law of the equivalence of mass and 
energy, we must go back to two conservation or "balance" prin- 
ciples which, independent of each other, held a high place in pre- 
relativity physics. These were the principle of the conservation of 
energy and the principle of the conservation of mass. The first of 
these, advanced by Leibnitz as long ago as the seventeenth cen- 
tury, was developed in the nineteenth century essentially as a corol- 
lary of a principle of mechanics. 

* Quoted by permission from Out of My Later Years (New York: Philo- 
sophical Library, 1950). Dr. Einstein is, as everyone knows, one of the fore- 
most scientists of this or any generation. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 
1922. This article is reprinted to show his method of preparing a scientific 
article of a comparatively non-technical nature. 

308 Report Writing 

Consider, for example, a pendulum whose mass swings back and 
forth between the points A and B. At these points the mass m is 
higher by the amount h than it is at C, the lowest point of the path 
(see drawing). At C, on the other hand, the lifting height has 

disappeared and instead of it the mass has a velocity v. It is as 
though the lifting height could be converted entirely into veloc- 
ity, and vice versa. The exact relation would be expressed as 

mgh = — - v 2 , with g representing the acceleration of gravity. What 

is interesting here is that this relation is independent of both the 
length of the pendulum and the form of the path through which 
the mass moves. 

The significance is that something remains constant through- 
out the process, and that something is energy. At A and at B 
it is an energy of position, or "potential" energy; at C it is an 
energy of motion, or "kinetic" energy. If this concept is correct, 

then the sum mgh -j- m 1_ must have the same value for any 


position of the pendulum, if h is understood to represent the height 

above C, and v the velocity at that point in the pendulum's path. 

And such is found to be actually the case. The generalization of 

this principle gives us the law of the conservation of mechanical 

energy. But what happens when friction stops the pendulum? 

The answer to that was found in the study of heat phenomena. 

This study, based on the assumption that heat is an indestructible 

substance which flows from a warmer to a colder object, seemed 

to give us a principle of the "conservation of heat." On the other 

hand, from time immemorial it has been known that heat could 

be produced by friction, as in the fire-making drills of the Indians. 

The physicists were for long unable to account for this kind of 

heat "production." Their difficulties were overcome only when it 

was successfully established that, for any given amount of heat 

produced by friction, an exactly proportional amount of energy 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 309 

had to be expended. Thus did we arrive at a principle of the 
"equivalence of work and heat." With our pendulum, for example, 
mechanical energy is gradually converted by friction into heat. 

In such fashion the principles of the conservation of mechanical 
and thermal energies were merged into one. The physicists were 
thereupon persuaded that the conservation principle could be fur- 
ther extended to take in chemical and electromagnetic processes 
—in short, could be applied to all fields. It appeared that in our 
physical system there was a sum total of energies that remained 
constant through all changes that might occur. 

Now for the principle of the conservation of mass. Mass is de- 
fined by the resistance that a body opposes to its acceleration ( inert 
mass). It is also measured by the weight of the body (heavy 
mass). That these two radically different definitions lead to the 
same value for the mass of a body is, in itself, an astonishing fact. 
According to the principle— namely, that masses remain unchanged 
under any physical or chemical changes— the mass appeared to be 
the essential ( because unvarying ) quality of matter. Heating, melt- 
ing, vaporization, or combining into chemical compounds would 
not change the total mass. 

Physicists accepted this principle up to a few decades ago. But 
it proved inadequate in the face of the special theory of relativity. 
It was therefore merged with the energy principles— just as, about 
60 years before, the principle of the conservation of mechanical 
energy had been combined with the principle of the conservation 
of heat. We might say that the principle of the conservation of 
energy, having previously swallowed up that of the conservation 
of heat, now proceeded to swallow that of the conservation of mass 
—and holds the field alone. 

It is customary to express the equivalence of mass and energy 
(though somewhat inexactly) by the formula E = mc 2 , in which 
c represents the velocity of light, about 186,000 miles per second. 
E is the energy that is contained in a stationary body; m is its 
mass. The energy that belongs to the mass m is equal to this mass, 
multiplied by the square of the enormous speed of light— which is 
to say, a vast amount of energy for every unit of mass. 

But if every gram of material contains this tremendous energy, 
why did it go so long unnoticed? The answer is simple enough: 
so long as none of the energy is given off externally, it cannot be 

310 Report Writing 

observed. It is as though a man who is fabulously rich should 

never spend or give away a cent; no one could tell how rich he was. 

Now we can reverse the relation and say that an increase of E 

in the amount of energy must be accompanied by an increase of 

— in the mass. I can easily supply energy to the mass— for instance, 

if I heat it by 10 degrees. So why not measure the mass increase, 
or weight increase, connected with this change? The trouble here 
is that in the mass increase the enormous fact c 2 occurs in the 
denominator of the fraction. In such a case the increase is too 
small to be measured directly, even with the most sensitive balance. 

For a mass increase to be measurable, the change of energy per 
mass unit must be enormously large. We know of only one sphere 
in which such amounts of energy per mass unit are released : namely, 
radioactive disintegration. Schematically, the process goes like this: 
An atom of the mass M splits into two atoms of the mass M' and 
M", which separate with tremendous kinetic energy. If we imagine 
these two masses as brought to rest— that is, if we take this energy 
of motion from them— then, considered together, they are essen- 
tially poorer in energy than was the original atom. According to the 
equivalence principle, the mass sum M' + M" of the disintegration 
products must also be somewhat smaller than the original mass M 
of the disintegrating atom— in contradiction to the old principle of 
the conservation of mass. The relative difference of the two is on 
the order of 1/10 of one percent. 

Now, we cannot actually weigh the atoms individually. How- 
ever, there are indirect methods for measuring their weights exactly. 
We can likewise determine the kinetic energies that are transferred 
to the disintegration products M' and M". Thus it has become 
possible to test and confirm the equivalence formula. Also, the 
law permits us to calculate in advance, from precisely determined 
atom weights, just how much energy will be released with any atom 
disintegration we have in mind. The law says nothing, of course, 
as to whether— or how— the disintegration reaction can be brought 

What takes place can be illustrated with the help of our rich 
man. The atom M is a rich miser who, during his life, gives away 
no money (energy). But in his will he bequeaths his fortune to 
his sons M' and M", on condition that they give to the community 
a small amount, less than one thousandth of the whole estate 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 311 

(energy or mass). The sons together have somewhat less than the 
father had (the mass sum M' + M" is somewhat smaller than the 
mass M of the radioactive atom). But the part given to the com- 
munity, though relatively small, is still so enormously large (con- 
sidered as kinetic energy) that it brings with it a great threat of 
evil. Averting that threat has become the most urgent problem of 
our time. 

A New Sales Control System Hits the Business Horizon * 
by John M. Gilliam 

In any business employing a large field force of salesmen to sell 
their products, there are at least three basic objectives to be desired: 

1. To have the salesmen so routed that they will at all times 
perform their selling tasks most efficiently. 

2. To get the most business out of the available customers 
from each territory covered by a company salesman. 

3. To have harmonious relations between the salesmen and 
the home office so that there is a mutual trust and honor. 

To satisfy these and other objectives, a new control system has 
made its appearance on the business horizon. It is so revolutionary 
and effective that all persons connected with its use are full of 
enthusiasm and praise. 

To present the new system to you properly, let us first look at 
the typical sales force in operation. The salesman is required to 
make a daily sales report, a various number of other reports, either 
daily or otherwise, and do certain other details— in addition to 
doing the actual work of selling the product of the company he is 
representing. The very fact that he is required to do these adminis- 
trative details, puts him on the defensive. It makes him feel as if 
the home office is making him do work that is really not necessary, 
and actually not used by anyone. The company whose new system 
I am going to describe was no exception to this old method. The 
salesman was made to fill out a daily sales call report covering 
each of the 8 to 20 daily calls he was expected to make. On this 

* Prepared especially for Report Writing; scheduled to be published also in 
Sales Management. John Gilliam is Purchasing Agent for Lumber, The Vulcan 
Corporation, Cincinnati. He has been associated with the Andrew Jergens 
Company, the Dwight Hinckley Lumber Company, and the M. B. Farrin 
Lumber Company, Cincinnati. 

312 Report Writing 

report he was to record sales, results of interviews, promotions 
set up or serviced, and any other information that might come to 


This company is a manufacturer of a complete line of beauty 
soaps, cosmetics, and allied products. Its products are sold in 
almost every grocery, drug, variety and department store through- 
out America and Canada. To sell them, it employs a force of over 
200 salesmen and some 10 or 12 Division Managers. Each sales- 
man used to send in a daily call report, plus various other reports, 
such as promotional reports, credit reports on new customers, re- 
ports of complaints from customers, and still others. This took an 
average of from one to three hours' time after his regular day's 
work of calling on the customer was finished. It actually meant 
that the salesman was sometimes spending as many as eleven hours 
daily working, and receiving pay for eight! 

The salesman's resentment of this overload of work was well 
justified in the case of our company. Who could do justice to 
receiving and tabulating information from 200 salesmen's reports 
daily? It would have taken quite a force of expert analysts to do 
the job thoroughly. Then who would have used the information, 
once it was compiled? This company, too, had the very real prob- 
lem of territory coverage by the salesmen, and the problem of 
territory changes and their justification. These changes used to 
come rather frequently, and were a severe headache to all of the 
home office sales department, the credit department, the order de- 
partment, and everyone in general. 

The result of all this seeming confusion was an earnest searching 
for some method or manner of dealing with the overall problems 
of territory coverage, salesmen's efficiency, and sales promotion that 
would culminate in a smoothly working organization where effi- 
ciency would be rewarded with everyone able to concentrate on 
the task of selling more and more of their products in all outlets. 
From this earnest research, much of which was actually trial and 
error, the new method took shape and grew to the present effi- 
cient system which has salesmen, division managers, and home office 
sales personnel enthusiastic and happy. No, the system was not de- 
vised overnight, nor by any stroke of genius on anyone's part, but as 
a result of four years of hard and continuous effort on the part of 
everyone in the Sales Department, including salesmen and their 
Division Managers. 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 313 

The new system is very simple in operation, especially to anyone 
familiar with IBM reporting and tabulating systems. It is very 
similar in almost all respects to the newer control systems now in 
effect in accounting, finance, production control, research, and many 
other branches of general business— this is, however, the first I have 
heard of its being used to control a field sales force. And it is 
adaptable to every business or industry that uses a large force of 
salesmen in the field to sell their products— the farther from the 
home office the salesmen, the more profitable its benefits become. 
It involves the use of the small check-sized IBM cards with which 
everyone is familiar. One of these small cards is made up for each 
customer of the company throughout the United States and Canada. 
At first the card contains the very minimum of information— cus- 
tomer's name, address, size of business and class of trade (whether 
retail, chain or wholesale grocery or drug ) . These cards were then 
sent to the Division Managers who, together with the salesman who 
was going to call upon the particular account, decided how often it 
should be contacted in order to obtain maximum business from 
it during the year. They also inserted any other useful information 
peculiar to that customer, and then returned the card to the home 
office for punching, sorting and filing. When returned the first 
time from the salesmen and Division Managers, the cards were 
punched, sorted according to territory, and placed in files. During 
the last week of each month the cards are all run through the key sort 
machine, and cards for all those customers who are to be contacted 
during the following month are pulled out according to sales terri- 
tories. These cards are then bundled and sent to the salesmen. 
When the salesmen receive these individual cards, their complete 
routing of their territory for an entire month in advance is complete! 
One of the major problems of the Sales Executive has been accom- 
plished—the salesman knows where he must go during the month, 
whom he must see, how many daily calls he will have to average, 
and, in fact, just about everything it is possible to convey to him. 

When the salesman starts over his territory, he makes his calls 
just as before, but instead of presenting each customer with an 
assortment of 5 to 20 or more items, he makes a presentation of his 
promotional item, and only those other items which he has advance 
information the customer will and can profitably handle. He carries 
the small IBM card with him for each of his customers he calls upon, 
and as he completes each call he records on the card all his sales 

314 Report Writing 

( space has been provided on the cards for all products, and special 
promotions offered by the company ) and at the end of the day drops 
all the cards covering his calls for that day in the mail. He then 
can either plan his next day's calls, or do whatever he wishes, for 
all the reporting he now has to do was accomplished with the filling 
out of the little card, as he talked to his customer. The cards come 
back to the company, and all new information is coded and set up 
in print on the card, which then goes back in file until it is time 
for that particular customer to be called upon again. Each time 
the salesman gets that card back, a complete story of the sales to 
that customer for the entire current year is readily available to him 
for guidance in presenting his sales talk to secure additional busi- 

The other revolutionary part of the system is the sending of 
reports to the salesman from the home office, instead of asking the 
salesman to send in the reports. The salesman used to be required 
to send in special reports regarding promotions, reports of sales, 
displays established, etc., ad infinitum. Now the home office sends 
the salesman reports showing information about his particular 
customers, their purchases by class of trade and by item, the results 
of promotional campaigns, the rise or fall of the customers in his 
territory according to past volume of business, and numerous other 
facts that are invaluable to the salesman in appraising his territory 
and his customers. In addition, they convey this same information 
to the Division Managers, who in turn make comparison reports 
to each of their salesmen showing their standing among the mem- 
bers of the division, and within the entire company. This serves as 
a barometer of how well the particular salesman is doing, and also 
serves as the basis for building a spirit of friendly competition 
among salesmen to see who can come in with top honors— the ac- 
complishment of this means a bonus from the company, and also 
from Division Managers. These reports from the company enable 
the Division Manager to supervise his division more efficiently, with 
less control from the home office, and relieve the Sales Department 
of countless minor details that are now handled by the Division 
Manager, if not corrected by the salesmen themselves beforehand. 
It eliminates, almost entirely, the duplication of effort of the home 
office and the Division Manager in supervising the salesmen— a task 
that was of no small degree of importance under the old system. 
It enables the Division Manager to hold his own sales meetings on 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 315 

the spot and in the territories where they are most needed, with 
complete information available to himself, the same as if the meet- 
ings were held at the home office. In a company where some of 
the salesmen and Division Managers are three thousand miles from 
the home office, this is a considerable saving in time and money, 
both for the salesman and the company. 

To get these reports out to the salesmen and the Division Man- 
agers, the home office routes all orders from their salesmen through 
the control point. From here all the information is taken from the 
orders, coded and tabulated with the information sent in by 
the salesman on his IBM cards, and grouped according to the 
specific category in which it falls. To bring to a minimum the 
chance for error, the company revised their promotional sales pro- 
gram during this period also. Now, instead of having promotions 
running haphazardly all over the United States, they have estab- 
lished the policy of starting one new promotion each month. Each 
promotion runs at least one month, and no promotion can ever run 
more than 90 days. This means that almost every time a salesman 
calls upon a customer he has at least one new item to present, but 
at no time does he have more than one or two such items. Pro- 
duction quotas are established for each territory according to past 
experience, and those quotas will not be exceeded for any reason. 
This, too, eliminates a very sore spot with salesmen, for under the 
old system there was the chance that one salesman could obtain 
more than his rightful share of a "hot" promotion, while some other 
poor fellow was not even in a position to offer that promotion to his 

The experience of this company has been that the rather high 
dollar cost of the system is minor compared to the benefits that 
can come from it. The company is most enthusiastic about the new 
system, and so are the salesmen and Division Managers I have had 
occasion to talk to. I am of the opinion that any company using 
a large sales force could gain much by considering the adoption of 
the same or a similar system for their own use. 

316 Report Writing 

The Presidents' Round Table * 

A Panel Session 

The Panel: 

James D. Wise, President, Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company, Inc., 

New York (Chairman) 
Charles S. Craigmile, President, Belden Manufacturing Company, 

George S. Dively, President and General Manager, Harris-Seybold 

Company, Cleveland 
Edmund Fitzgerald, President, The Northwestern Mutual Life 

Insurance Company, Milwaukee 
Stanley C. Hope, President, Esso Standard Oil Company, New 

Charles Lukens Huston, Jr., President, Lukens Steel Company, 


Chairman James D. Wise: The purpose of this panel discussion 
is to try to explore the question: What is a president supposed to 
do? How does he keep in close touch with what is going on? How 
can he measure the effectiveness of various departmental activities? 

Keeping Informed of Departmental Activities. The first ques- 
tion we come to is: How do you keep yourself informed about the 
activities of the various departments of your company? Then there 
is a very closely related question which I think we might cover at 
the same time: How do you know whether a good job is being 
done by the individual departments? 

Mr. Hope: The old saying that the owner's foot in the plant is 
the best thing for the plant, still applies. I think perhaps my best 
means of finding out what is going on is by field visits to our sales 
divisions, to our refineries, and, when occasion permits, to our vari- 
ous departments at headquarters. That is still, in my opinion, the 
best way for a president of a company to know what is going on. 
However, that is not the scientific solution, which in our case is 
accomplished by a system of contact directors. 

* Abridged by permission of the American Management Association from 
AMA General Management Series Number 150, The Job of the Company 
President. The papers contained in the article were presented at a round table 
discussion at the 27th Annual General Management Conference of the AMA, 
held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, June 1-2, 1950. 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 317 

Each operational and functional department of the company re- 
ports to a director. The director does not operate the department in 
most cases. He is merely there for advice and counsel. This serves 
as a means of directing action outward through the company, pro- 
vides channels for bringing to the board problems and ideas of 
importance. We consider that setup a very important one. And 
our organizational chart shows the initials of contact directors, so 
that there is no question as to how the setup should work. 

Then we have periodic reviews of departmental progress. We 
have a special committee which reports on the personnel, base re- 
quirements, and housekeeping factors. Those reports are circulated 
to the board, and on occasions of perhaps a year are reviewed and 

That, in brief, is how I keep in touch with my various depart- 

Chairman Wise: Mr. Fitzgerald, will you tell us how you keep 
yourself informed about the kind of job being done by your in- 
dividual departments? 

Meetings and Reports. 

Mr. Fitzgerald: We have a great quantity of records, of course, 
in the life insurance business. We have daily and monthly reports. 
In the last five years we have adopted the practice of having a very 
complete annual report made by each department head, in which 
he outlines the problems that he has encountered, the steps that he 
has taken to solve them, and the major objectives of the year ahead. 

I go over these reports with each department head in some detail. 
I find that a very effective control. 

Another way of keeping track of what our departments are doing 
is through a monthly meeting of our executive committee. The 
executive committee is, of course, a committee of the board of 
trustees of the company. Each department head— we have 11— 
attends the meeting, makes a written report which is sent to the 
executive committee before the meeting, and then personally pre- 
sents the most important features in those reports. 

We also have a check-up through an examining committee of 
policyholders that comes in each year and looks us over. 

My problem is much simpler than that of many other company 
presidents because of the fact that we are all operating in the same 
building. We lunch together every day. My chief purpose is to 

318 Report Writing 

try to keep myself available— not to be involved in a great many 
things which make it difficult for the departmental head to reach 
me. I think the position of the president is that of a consultant 
rather than a doer. 

Now, as to how we check up on the kind of a job these departments 
are doing: Again, I know no business that has the records that the 
life insurance business keeps. For years we have been dealing with 
these reports that many of you are now confronted with, and must 
file very voluminous reports with every state in which we do busi- 
ness. In order to save time, the life insurance companies mail these 
reports to one another, so that we do not have to go to the state 
capitols to see what our competitors are doing. This gives us a 
check on how our people are doing as compared with our com- 

I find, too, that the president very rapidly gets the reaction of 
the policyholders to our standards of service. Complaints all seem 
to flow to the desk of the chief officer. 

Then, of course, with our usual group of staff people, such as 
the controller on costs, a planning department, the personnel de- 
partment, and management consultants that we may bring in, we 
do get a good idea of what our people are doing. 

We have also adopted a device of placing a representative, a 
junior officer from each one of our departments, on the policy- 
holders' service committee. These are young fellows who do not 
believe that what we have been doing is necessarily the correct 
thing to do. They check up on one another and come up with some 
very good suggestions, and also point up weaknesses. 

Frankly, I find it less difficult to get the facts than to do some- 
thing about the facts once I have them. 

Chairman Wise: Mr. Huston, will you tackle these two questions? 

Mr. Huston: With respect to the question: How do I keep in- 
formed about the activities of the various departments of my com- 
pany? By use of virtually all the mediums— word of mouth, the 
written word, charts and other visual aids, and so on. 

Specifically, we have each division report to the president once 
each year on the job that it has done in meeting the goals set for it 
during the preceding year. Anything unusual that has been accom- 
plished outside of the goals is reported. In addition, goals are set 
for the coming year. That is followed up every half-year by a prog- 
ress report. 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 319 

The report not only goes to me, but it goes to each member of 
the management committee, which committee comprises the prin- 
cipal officers and the division heads of the company. They make a 
critical review of the contents of every progress report, and par- 
ticularly the annual divisional report. After the criticism, the report 
may be changed and improved before it is consolidated and goes to 
the board of directors. 

In addition to these annual and progress reports, there are regular 
and special reports on individual programs, problems and projects. 
Each day at noon those who are in town lunch together, and while 
the discussion is by no means confined to business, we do often 
transact inter-division matters at the table. 

Then there is at least one meeting a week of the management 
committee, devoted to policy questions and current problems. And 
once a month, not only the division heads and the management 
committee, but their immediate subordinates, get together for a 
general information session. A subordinate supervisor from each 
division comments on his particular activity, the business prospects, 
and what has been happening, for the information of the rest of the 
group. There are about 50 in that particular group. 

In addition, there are individual and group conferences with 
executives on special matters. And there are personal visits to the 
plants, to customers, financial institutions, and to competitors' plants. 
I agree with Mr. Hope that it is certainly helpful to check what is 
going on by discussions here and there in the plant, by visits with 
customers, and by personal contacts with financial institutions and 

How do I know whether a good job is being done by individual 
departments? The annual reports and the definite goals established 
by the departments of each division provide a standard against 
which to check results. We feel that the setting of that standard is 
important. And in recognition of the fact that each member of the 
management committee has a chance to criticize and question the 
initial report when it comes up, and that each man represents 20 to 
40 years of experience with the company, the resulting final standard 
and goal set for each department has considerable weight separate 
and apart from the weight of the experience of that department 
in setting such goals. 

Then, of course, there is constant follow-up and checking of cur- 
rent performance against the established goals, both formally and 

320 Report Writing 

informally in the course of daily contacts. All these things are help- 
ful to us in knowing whether a good job is being done by individual 

Chairman Wise: Mr. Craigmile, will you tell us how you keep 
yourself informed of departmental progress? 

Mr. Craigmile: We hear a great deal about the delegation of 
authority and responsibility. I think generally we do a pretty good 
job of that. But I think the danger is that top management may 
delegate it too far and lose touch with what may be going on. 

Interdepartmental Coordination. As a practical matter, in our 
company we instituted a program which I think is quite common 
now. Every Monday morning the officers of the company meet in 
executive session to discuss anything about the business. I found 
that the problem was not so much keeping the president informed 
about what was going on as to keep each individual department head 
informed about what the others were doing. 

I have come to the conclusion that there are no unrelated parts 
of the business. I feel that one of the president's most important 
jobs is to be sure that all his division heads have an opportunity 
to confer with each other in making decisions. 

How do I know whether a good job is being done? Again, I 
think that the fundamental answer is our contact with the men 
who head the divisions of our business. 

The second means, of course, is the ordinary operating report. 
In our case, we have a daily report which is very instructive. It 
shows our orders and billing, unfilled orders, accounts receivable, 
how much money we have in the bank, and how much we owe. 
This daily report to some degree acts as an immediate warning of 
a change. 

Contact with Second-Line Supervision. Once a month, at our 
divisional meetings, we bring in the second line of supervision- 
department heads, including the purchasing agent, the head of pro- 
duction planning, the heads of the various sales units, plant super- 
intendents, chief industrial engineer and comptroller. 

I believe that if you sit down and talk to your people about 
business, you will learn more than you can even from reports. Cer- 
tainly our most valuable source of information as to what is actually 
going to come from the discussions we have is in these meetings. 
And second to that, of course, are the normal operating reports. 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 321 

Use of Special Reports. 

Chairman Wise: Now I would like to call on Mr. Dively on the 
same two questions. 

Mr. Dively: We came out of the war virtually out of business 
insofar as our normal products were concerned. Our industry was 
one of the most completely converted to specific war products. 
So we had to begin almost from scratch in a business where spe- 
cialized experience is highly important, with an expanding program 
and a shortage of experienced help. This intensified the need for 
effective exchange of information and a well-oiled internal com- 
munication system. 

I agree with the other panel members that informal personal 
contacts, group meetings and written reports are the best means of 
keeping posted. 

In view of the need and desire to keep our organization informed, 
considerable attention is given to the design of reports so that they 
not only give the necessary factual information but also reflect 
performance and provide a degree of self -measurement. Let me try 
to illustrate with a few words about one of these reports— our in- 
dustrial relations summary. 

The development of this monthly summary report resulted from 
the consolidation and elimination of a dozen or more individual re- 
ports from our personnel department which had accumulated 
throughout the years. This over-all report is built around our par- 
ticular problems, our particular personalities, and our particular jobs. 
Among other items, it shows, by manufacturing and field divisions, 
the average number of hourly and salary employees for the month, 
compared with last month and the average for last year; labor rates 
by divisions of employment, with premium and overtime shown 
separately; labor turnover, accidents and grievances with compara- 
tive last-month and last-year data; and various comparative direct 
and indirect labor data which can be used to exercise control in line 
with previously established industry ratios. 

As another illustration there is a series that I call project reports. 
They reflect our industrial engineering, market study and develop- 
ment and research activities. These reports are issued bi-monthly. 
They show the activity, measure progress and reflect the forward 
programs for individual projects. 

322 Report Writing 

Reporting in a Control Group Organization * 

by Thomas J. McGinnis 

Reporting is more than the keeping of a business diary which 
merely records for posterity the historical data of today. Indeed, 
it is Koppers' philosophy that reports should instead be looked upon 
as management's means of measuring the effectiveness of all 
its other means of control and of doing something about the 

Reports are fundamentally a means of determining whether or 
not the company is succeeding and, if not, why not. Conse- 
quently, there needs to be some definition of what constitutes suc- 
cess. This is a basic concept on which our use of reports is 
founded, for in Koppers management provides itself with a clear 
definition of its goals and reports evaluate results in terms of these 

The Koppers Program. To amplify this statement, it must be 
understood that Koppers each year draws up a program that defines 
in considerable detail the ambitions and goals of the company, as 
well as the specific results which, if attained, will mean the fulfill- 
ment of these ambitions and goals. The program is a carefully con- 
structed plan for the operation of the company. It spells out the 
various new undertakings, projects, expansions, and improvements 
which we will pursue during the year. It states the advances which 
we hope to make in the fields of research, development, transporta- 
tion, public relations, sales, production, industrial relations, and the 
other functions which are the responsibility of our staff departments. 
It programs in detail the operations of our divisions in terms of their 
production, sales, manufacturing costs, overhead expenses, and 
profits. Within these divisions, the corresponding data for indi- 

* Quoted by permission of the American Management Association from the 
AMA booklet Reports to Top Management for Effective Planning and Control, 
New York, 1953. After receiving his BSME degree from Purdue University, 
Thomas J. McGinnis served variously as design and test engineer, Norge Divi- 
sion, Borg Warner Corporation; design engineer, Link Belt Company; and 
Major, U. S. Army Ordnance Department, in the Chicago Ordnance District 
(later as Assistant Chief, Industrial Division). Mr. McGinnis began his asso- 
ciation with Koppers Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1946 as organiza- 
tion administrator in the Control Section and afterwards was named Assistant 
Manager of the Control Section. Mr. McGinnis was appointed to his present 
position as Manager, Control Section, in 1951. He is the author of "The 
Control Section as an Aid to Management." 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 323 

vidual plants, groups of plants, products, and sales districts are 

On the financial side, the program sets forth all the sources and 
requirements of cash which correspond to the projected operations. 
The elements of working capital are programmed from the grass 
roots up, resulting in the determination of the amounts that will be 
required for inventories, receivables, payables, free cash balance, 
payment of income taxes, and other current items. A detailed sched- 
ule for the year's capital expenditures is provided, including a 
schedule of new appropriations to be authorized. If new financing 
or the retirement of debt is indicated, the program is specific in 
setting forth the nature and the timing of such transactions. These 
matters are summarized in detailed and consolidated balance sheets 
and cash statements. 

The program is, in other words, a sort of progress report in per- 
spective. It is prepared in light of the very best forecasts of the 
general economy that are available to us and is an expression of 
where we want to be, and should be, at the end of each month 
of the coming year. If we are able to control each of the multi- 
tudinous factors which affect over-all performance, we should find 
ourselves just where we wanted to be at month's end, and when 
the year has passed we shall have accomplished the things we 
started out to do. 

It can be seen how the existence of Koppers' program influences the 
nature of the reporting system by which management is kept aware 
of progress. In the first place, the entire emphasis is placed upon the 
relationship of current operating results of the program, thereby fo- 
cusing attention on today's problems and their influence on tomor- 
row's business. The time-honored but nonetheless impractical com- 
parison of today's results with those of last month, last year, and five 
years ago is eliminated to a large extent, because it is not believed 
that looking backward contributes very much to moving forward. 

Organization of the Company. Koppers is a highly diversified 
company, producing a wide variety of products and services, mostly 
for use by other industries. Figure 63 shows the over-all organiza- 
tion plan, indicating the manner in which the operating portion of 
our business is divided into six operating divisions. Each of these 
is an integrated unit, producing and selling its own products or 

324 Report Writing 

The divisions differ widely in terms of their physical and geo- 
graphical characteristics. The Engineering and Construction Divi- 
sion is a service organization, a designer and builder of coke ovens, 
steel plants, chemical plants, and other industrial installations; it 
carries out its engineering work in Pittsburgh and Chicago and its 
construction activities at many locations both here in the United 
States and abroad. In contrast, the Tar Products and Wood Preserv- 
ing Divisions, which are product-manufacturing businesses, each 
operate more than 20 small to medium-sized plants, well dispersed 
over the country. The Metal Products Division, on the other hand, 
operates only two plants, both of which are quite large and are lo- 
cated in Baltimore. All in all, Koppers has 55 plants plus a large 
number of sales offices, distribution centers, and construction 

Supporting the operating divisions and the company in general 
are the staff departments, each of which operates in a specific func- 
tional field, providing assistance, advice, and in some cases oper- 
ating service to the divisions. They are located at company 
headquarters in Pittsburgh but are responsible for over-all coordina- 
tion of their particular function, irrespective of where or by which 
unit it is performed. 

Note that the Control Section, reporting directly to the President, 
is the only unit whose title does not give an immediate clue to its 
function or scope. Perhaps this is significant, for in reality the Con- 
trol Section covers all functions and its scope is as broad as the 
company itself. It is a management control group, whose purpose 
is to establish and operate the broad management controls by which 
the company's top management can direct its business. The Con- 
trol Section's duties extend into the fields of organization planning, 
procedures and methods, and a wide variety of special studies and 
analyses of company affairs. But it is with this group's work on 
reports that we are particularly concerned in this discussion. 

The Reporting Activity. It is the Control Section that designs, 
coordinates, and produces the company's program. In the process 
of programming, the Control Section employs channels of com- 
munication and information that reach directly into each of the 
divisions and staff departments and, through them, indirectly to 
every operating unit and location of the company. Through these 
channels come the plans, forecasts, standards, and goals, which, as 

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all operating division general managers 
or alternates division production managers 

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626 Report Writing 

they reach the Control Section, are analyzed and appraised prior to 
being accepted for consolidation into the final program. 

It is the Control Section, using these same channels of communi- 
cation and information, that plans, coordinates, and produces Kop- 
pers' Monthly Progress Report. This is generally referred to as the 
report, and the singular connotation is significant, for it is the report 
which top management uses to inform itself on the company's prog- 
ress and to plan management action. 

The Control Section's wide scope of interest and broad coverage 
of functions serve it well in carrying out the reporting activity. This 
is so because the Progress Report, in order to achieve maximum 
usefulness to management, must be completely factual, must present 
information in a completely impartial and analytical manner, and 
must be objective always and critical where necessary. Since the 
Control Section has no predominant interest in any one function 
or type of operation, it is in a position to be objective about all 
phases of the business and to coordinate and resolve differing points 
of view held by various other units on a particular subject. 

Collecting the Statistics. Two major sources of information are 
used, one to obtain the statistical data and the other to obtain the 
explanatory, narrative material. The source of the statistical data 
is largely the Finance Department and, more specifically, its Treas- 
ury and Accounting Section, wherein is performed the actual detail 
and general accounting for four of our six divisions. The other two 
divisions carry on their accounting on a completely decentralized 
basis, in finance units which are an integral part of their divisional 
organizations. In the case of these two divisions, the statistical data 
come directly from them. 

In order to obtain all the information that is required, to obtain 
it in the form in which it is most useful, and to facilitate its adapta- 
tion to the finished report, the Control Section prepares in advance 
the forms on which the data will be supplied to it. A set of these 
forms, including all the tabulations required to present the monthly 
results of a particular division, is furnished to the appropriate ac- 
counting group shortly in advance of the monthly closing. On these 
tabulations the Control Section has entered the data representing 
the programmed performance for the month or for the year to date 
as the case may be. In the accounting groups, the corresponding 
actual figures are entered on these work sheets as the various ac- 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 327 

counts are closed, the percentage of the actual to the program is 
calculated and entered, and the completed forms are returned to the 
Control Section. To give some idea of the size of this job, the 



1 Table T - DATA ENTERE V 


4 TO NET SALES: 1953 / / 

5 X / 


7 Item 



Dollars y 

/Percent of 
< Net /Sales 







12 Shipping & Del. 




13 Discounts 










17 Cost of Sales 



18 Raw Materials 



19 Controllable 


25.0 _j 

20 Fixed 



21 Inv. Variation 



22 Depreciation 



23 Taxes (ex. inc. ) 



24 Selling 



25 Administrative 



26 Central Staff 



27 Res. & Devel. 



28 Pensions 



29 Other 









33 \ S' 

34 18 1 6 1 \ 6 1/f 1 5 



Figure 64. 

number of such work sheets sent to and returned by the accounting 
units averages about 325 per month. Figure 64 is an example of 
a typical Progress Report work sheet. 

Narrative Material. The sources of the explanatory, narrative 
material are the operating divisions and the staff departments. Al- 
though this type of material does not lend itself to the use of pre- 

328 Report Writing 

pared forms as in the statistical phase, the Control Section has 
established with the divisions and departments, as a result of 
repetitive and constantly improved practice, an effective and well- 
understood method of covering all the pertinent phases of the 
month's operations. 

The staff departments report to us their activities of the month, 
indicating the progress they have made on the special projects in 
which they are engaged; they also submit some statistical data 
measuring the volume of the routine service work they perform, 
as well as general comments on current developments in their func- 
tional fields. To the extent that the progress of these units has 
been programmed, their actual performance is measured against the 
program— for example, by relating the actual starting and com- 
pletion dates of projects to those programmed, measuring the actual 
against the programmed cost of such projects, and relating the 
results to those that were anticipated. 

From the headquarters of each of the six operating divisions we 
obtain a narrative report commenting on the month's business. 
Since virtually every phase of the division's operation has been 
programmed, we expect to receive the appropriate explanations 
wherever actual performance has varied significantly from the pro- 
gram. Comments deal with sales, sales prices, market developments, 
production, production difficulties, production costs, overhead and 
general expenses, profits, investment, the elements of working 
capital, capital expenditures, progress on new projects, new orders, 
backlog of orders, business outlook, and such other subjects as are 
applicable to the individual division reporting. 

The Data Analyzed. With these channels of information sup- 
plying the raw material for a portrayal of the company's progress, 
the Control Section goes about the business of producing a progress 
report which will show this progress— or lack of it— in as complete 
and objective a manner as possible. In doing so we are possessed 
by the curiosity of the proverbial cat and guided by the determina- 
tion that the finished report will leave no room for an unanswered 
"why" in the minds of its readers. 

The information received from the operating divisions and staff 
departments is thoroughly analyzed and related to the statistical 
data which it is supposed to explain. Because it is simply not 
human nature for an operating or staff official to write an extensive 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 329 

criticism of his own failures, we often must amplify these reports, 
adding pertinent comments that are reflected but unsaid in the data. 
Very frequently we must contact units to request more information 
on matters which have not been covered in the reports, or on which 
the reports were inadequate. 

The analysis to which these reports are subjected is extremely 
thorough. Explanations of variations from programmed perform- 
ance are in all cases tested against the statistical facts, very often 
with the result that some factor other than the one explained is found 
to have been the real cause of especially good or bad performance. 
The Control Section adds its own observations and comments to 
these reports, until we have, to the best of our ability, answered 
each "why" that might arise in management's mind. 

Every phase of the business receives comment in the final report. 
Production efficiencies, yields from raw materials, scrap rates, unit 
manufacturing costs, raw materials supply, production difficulties 
and bottlenecks, maintenance and repair, usage of fuel and utilities, 
and many other down-to-earth matters are analyzed and then por- 
trayed in the report in the most practical manner. 

Careful Interpretation Needed. It must be kept in mind that the 
thoroughness and care with which this report is compiled, and the 
wide scope of the report itself, are justified not only because it is 
the report that will go to top management ( including the Board of 
Directors) but by the fact that it is the only report this level of 
management will receive and therefore serves in lieu of the many 
individual reports which are common in some companies. 

Our objective in preparing the report is to include in it a com- 
plete interpretation of the monthly results, thereby freeing manage- 
ment from the time-consuming task of interpretation and allowing 
its full concentration on necessary action. The complete checking 
and cross-checking of data results in the elimination of confusion 
and consequent mistrust in the minds of management, since it is 
never exposed to conflicting information on a particular subject- 
as may frequently be the case where many individual reports are 
received from different sources. It also eliminates the possibility 
of buck-passing, since the spotlight is turned on the true source of 
trouble as the result of the analyses made prior to using the data. 

The work of analysis and editing connected with this report is 
performed by men who know the company well, know the account- 

330 Report Writing 

ing system well, have an intimate knowledge of how the program 
was prepared, and know where and how to look for the real truths 
that lie in the statistics and other information they work with. 

The Finished Report. The cover of the Koppers Monthly Prog- 
ress Report carries the notation "Secret." That means what it says, 
for the report contains complete financial, profit, sales, and technical 
information and therefore is intended for use only by authorized 
members of management. The distribution is carefully recorded by 
copy number, and the copies are recalled and destroyed when they 
have served their purpose. Consequently, the material shown on 
pp. 342-49 has had the significant figures and statements deleted 
from it. It is highly important that the use of such a report, in 
whatever company, be governed with great care. 

The Monthly Progress Report is divided into four main sections. 
Section 1 covers "Koppers Company, Inc., and Subsidiaries"; in 
other words, it provides a consolidated picture of the over-all com- 
pany's progress and results. The Control Section prepares this part 
of the report by summarizing the most important factors which have 
a bearing on our success or failure to attain our over-all goals. 
Section 1 is particularly useful to our Board of Directors, for in it 
the directors can find the over-all picture of the company's progress 
and status, free of the detail with which this level of management 
is not usually concerned. 

Section 2 contains six individual reports, one for each of the oper- 
ating divisions. These are the end product of the statistical and 
narrative information we receive from our correspondents, aug- 
mented and purified by our own efforts. Section 3 contains the 
reports of our staff departments, 11 in all, which are in the main 
narrative reports, supported by charts and tables where applicable. 
Section 4 is a monthly economic review, prepared from informa- 
tion submitted by the Market Research and Economics Section of 
the Staff Sales Department, in which the nation's economy, its 
trends, and the effect of these trends on Koppers' business are dis- 
cussed. It is the report's sole departure from actual facts— our own 
private "crystal gazing" in print. 

From month to month, the content of this report is varied as 
necessary in order to emphasize certain phases of operations which 
have become particularly important or critical. Also, in selected 
issues we include as a fifth section an exhaustive treatment of some 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 331 

special subject, such as general and administrative expense, main- 
tenance and repair cost, actual versus estimated earnings from new 
capital projects, and others. 

The accompanying outline of a typical Koppers Monthly Progress 
Report, with selected excerpts (pp. 333-41), will indicate the gen- 
eral content and the manner in which it is handled. 

Mechanics of Preparation. The report has a pleasant, finished 
appearance. The narrative is blended with the appropriate tables 
and charts, so as to present in one general area all the information 
on a particular subject. We find that some people like to read a 
story about the business, some prefer tables which show the results, 
and some are proponents of graphs or charts. We try to please 
them all by providing enough of each. Actually, of course, each 
form supplements the others, with the text providing the analysis 
and the conclusions that a chart or table cannot alone provide. 

The typical table used provides a column for the program, one 
for the corresponding actual figure, and one for the percentage of 
the actual to the program. The chart shows both the monthly and 
the year-to-date program and actual data and, as a slight concession 
to comparison with past history, the actual results of the preceding 
year. Throughout this report, dollar amounts are generally shown 
to the nearest thousand dollars. 

All the textual and tabular material is typed in the Control Sec- 
tion, using electric typewriters equipped with carbon paper ribbons 
and a justifying attachment which permits the even righthand 
margin and the two-column style. A draftsman, also a member of 
the Control Section, prepares all the charts, which are used over 
again each month by merely adding the current month's bar and 
extending the shaded areas. All checking and proofreading are 
done in the Control Section, and the finished work is reproduced 
on the company's own equipment in a central reproduction service 
unit which is administered by the Staff Finance Department. 

Distribution and Use. When is such a report issued? How long 
does it take to prepare it? How many copies are issued and to 
whom? Finally, how is the report used? All these points are im- 
portant to a discussion of the Koppers Monthly Progress Report. 

This finished report is distributed between the 12th and the 20th 
of the month following the month being reported. The exact date 
is dependent on the dates of the Operating Committee and Board 

332 Report Writing 

of Directors meetings, which vary depending on the calendar 
(Fig. 65). 

Operating Committee 

Board of Directors 
( Determines other 


Progress Report 

Operating Committee 

Board of Directors 



12 3 4 5 6 7 
8 9 10 11^( 12)13 14 

15-fe^J) 18 19 20 21 
~ J2*@ 24 25 26 27 28 

Figure 65. Schedule for Monthly Progress Report-A Good Month and a 
Bad Month. 

From 5 to 12 days before the report is issued, the management 
has been advised of the final profit for the month, by divisions and 
in total. This schedule is fairly good, considering that Koppers 
must draw together the results at 55 different plants and about 30 
or more construction sites. Incidentally, our monthly closings are 
as of the last calendar day of the month. The schedule is made 
possible by a well-documented and supervised procedure for trans- 
mitting information from the field to headquarters and thence to 
the Control Section. 

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Special Applications to Business and Engineering 


£™) KOPPERS CO., INC. & SUBS. 1™ ™} 


Earnings per share of common stock 
exceeded the program by a wide margin in 
November. Although profit before taxes 
was substantially below program, profit 
after taxes was considerably above. Thie 
resulted from an excess profit credit of 
$ thousand additional, in November, 
to that programmed. In addition, tax 
adjustments applicable to Chilean income 
amounted to a reduction in taxable income 
of # thousand. These factors tended 
to reduce the tax for the month; however, 
an additional amount $ thousand over 
program was provided in the reserve for 
tax contingencies, as was also done last 
month, and partly offsets these reductions „ 
For the year to date, earnings to common 
are above those programmed by per share 


Company sales dropped approximately 

percent frcm the previous month but were, 

nevertheless, $. million in excess of the 

Table Kl 


, Actual 







(In thousands of 







NET raOFTT a/ 





(In dollars ) 



Bef. Spec. Items 





a/ Before taxes and special items, 
b/ Based on 1,867,125 shares. 






1 A ' 

\PRO0KAM ' \ / 

v/ — - r~* \ I 






'■-■» ■ 


2 / 


JAL j 


















11952 ACTUALfi . 

•,,i 1 IV 

* BASED ON 9,867, 125 SHARES IN 1952 ANO 1,017.125 IN 

D J F M A 

A S N 

Page 1, Section 1, Showing Text, Chart, and Table 


Report Writing 

»'««| KOPPERS CO., INC. 8c SUBS. H- 

the first part of the month, Lower yields 
and a greater proportion of furnace coke 
shipments than anticipated. The loss 
programed for Brooklyn was reduced to $ 
thousand in spite of the change in opera- 
tions at thi6 plant since the original 
program was prepared. 

The Tar Products Division incurred a 
net loss during the month whereas a sizable 
profit had been programmed. Settlement 
of the use and occupancy insurance claim in 
connection with the Follansbee naphthalene 
still fire contributed $ thousand to 

the month'6 income. Low sales volume was 
the main reason for the division's loss. 
All plant groups, except Brokered, were 
below program. 








Common stockholders' equity in the 
company was $ at November 30, an 
increase of $ during the month, and 
$ over program. 

Table K8 

NOVEMBER 30, 1952 

(In thousands of dollars ] 





U. S. Gov«ts 
Prepaid Items 
less: Cur. Liab. 






i of 



Another Pace from Section 1 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 


Table Kk 

(In thousands of dollars) 







Engr. & Constr. 
Tar Products 
Gas & Coke 
Wood Preserving 
Metal Products 







47 4i 49 50 SI JFMAMJJ ASONO 






HI increase; 

I U S. GOVTS. -.1 

Table K15 



(in thousands of dollars) 

November 1952 

Jan - Nov 































♦ Excludes billings to Central Staff units. 

Typical Tables and Charts, Section 1 


Report Writing 








„ 1952 



















n jrfnn\Mf\ 

if'; ''■ -'. 













« A 






(In thousgndg of dollars! 

\ Plant 

|V- — gt«i> 







ft q gyi 




A Page from Section 2 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 





«" OAL I95t^lgj-If V- Jig? 


1991 \ 
ACTUM. mlm 

••■' .'. 


i-£.!l. *. -.--. 

J F M A M 

J J A S O N O 

Table T8 




Cost of Sales 
Raw Materials 
Contr. PI .Costs 
Fixed Expense 
Inventory Var. 
Taxes (Excl.Inc) 
Selling Expense 
Gen' 1.&' Admin. 
Central Staff 
Research & Devel. 





Percent of 
Net Sales 




Table Til 



thousands of 





as $ of 









St. Paul 





Port Arthur 
Illinois Ave. 


Typical Tables and Charts, Section 2 


Report Writing 




During the month $ million par value 
of U. S. Treasury Bills matured and the 
proceeds were reinvested in new Bills. An 
additional $ million par value 91-day 
Bills were purchased so that at November 3C 
a total of $ million par value of these 
Bills were held, of which $ million will 
mature in December. The program for 
November 30 calls for $ million of Bills 
to be held in order to cover the programmed 
tax accrual at that date; however the tax 
accrual is more than $ million below 
program. The most recent purchase was made 
on the basis of a 1.87 yield, very close to 
the highest rate the company has obtained. 

Pursuant to arrangements made by the 
Law Department with the Securities and 
Exchange Commission, an order was placed 
with a Pittsburgh brokerage firm for the 
sale of shares of common stock of 

Of this 
amount, shares had been sold at 

November 30 at prices of and 
The proceeds from this portion were approxi- 
mately $ thousand. The book value of the 
shares is $ thousand ( per 

share) and the tax base is aboat $• 
thousand ( per share). The complete 

sale of these shares will be sufficient to 
offset the estimated $ thousand of 

capital gains for and to provide a 

margin of about $ thousand of tax loss 
for unforeseen further capital gains. 
Since the book value of this stock was 
written down to per share in 

this sale will provide an estimated book 
gain of about $ thousand. 

A rather comprehensive credit report 
was prepared on 

the major steel company in , which has 

asked Koppers through Freyn to assist it in 
financing the purchase of certain blast 
furnace equipment. A report on the subject 
was forwarded to Freyn for discussion 

The 1953 Program of Koppers General 
was consolidated with the operating divi- 
sions and turned over to the Control 
Section for printing. 


The Chicago sales office lease in the 
expires May 1, 1953- 
The management of the building requests an 
increase of percent in rent (from $ 
per year to $ per year) on a three 

year renewal with a two year option basis. 

A study of the entire Freyn Engineering 
Department office rental situation in the 

( square feet ) and 

(25,355 square feet) Buildings was made. 
The rental agent of the Building 

had suggested an increase from $ per 

sq. ft., the average rental for the entire 
space occupied in that building, to $ 
per sq. ft. per floor for the three floors 
proposed to be leased under present plans. 
After further negotiations this was reduced 
to $ per sq. ft. or a total of $ 

thousand per floor for the three floors 
proposed to be leased for three years with 
option for two more years, from September 
30, 1953 (lease expiration date). As for 
the Building, the space averages 

$ per sq. ft., but Koppers will probably 

relinquish all this space. If present plans 
materialize, the overall result would be a 
reduction in rent of about $ thousand, 
based on total rental of $ per square 


The conveyancing papers covering the 
sale of part of the Clifton Yard idle real 
estate were approved and arrangements have 
been made by the Law Department for the 
consummation of this transaction prior to 
the end of the year. Arrangements were made 
to sell under option three acres of the 
company's undeveloped land at the 

to Corporation for 

a consideration of $ thousand, consider- 
ably in excess of the book value of this 
property. The 

will take over one of the piston ring lease- 
holds in San Francisco, releasing Koppers 
from any obligation thereunder. A further 
study was made of the Independence County, 
Arkansas idle real estate and a revised 
list with location, acreage and sales price 
was submitted to Koppers' real estate 
representative at Batesville, Arkansas to 
develop prospects for the sale of this 


Pace 1, Section 3 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 



There has been no change In the 
business picture over the past month. 
Industrial activity continues at peak rates 
and the demand for steel and other basic 
materials remains high. Retail trade has 
not picked up as much as hoped for but 
Christmas buying is barely underway and it 
may yet reach the record levels anticipated 

While the immediate business picture 
is excellent, a downturn still appears 
inevitable after years of over-stimulation 
to the economy. No severe depression is 
foreseen, for it would require only a modest 
recession to provide the overdue correction 
to our business system. 

The economy as a whole is basically 
strong. A growing population needs more 
and more goods. Geographical shifts in 
population multiply the demand for many 
kinds of goods and services even beyond 
that which a rising population alone would 
exert. There is no evidence that these 
trends will halt. In addition, the standard 
of living is rising and will continue to 
rise. Per capita income available for 
spending has increased faster than the cost 
of living, and people generally have been 
taking advantage of their increased leisure 
time and improved incomes to enjoy the 
better living conditions open to them. 
The banking system is sound. Our natural 
resources are large, our inventive genius 
is active, and our initiative is still alive- 

The6e factors cannot prevent cyclical 
changes in the level of business but they 
give premise of a dynamic future and provide 
a cushion against a severe readjustment. 
In addition to these, there are a number of 
more specific cushions that will operate 
to prevent a spiral of deflation of the 
sort that cumulates as it progresses: 

1. Even though military expenditures will 
shortly flatten out and then decline some- 
what, a minimum estimated at $30 billion 
annually far national security will probably 
be maintained indefinitely. This contri- 
butes to the demand for goods and con- 

stitutes a stabilizing influence never 
previously experienced. 

2. Business and individuals have strong 
financial positions generally. Even though 
corporate and personal indebtedness seems 
high, working capital positions are comfort- 
able, farm debt is small, and individuals' 
savings are very large. 

3,. Deposit Insurance should prevent any 
fears for the safety of depositors' money. 
THe banking system is strong and liquid, 
with little apparent danger of trouble. 

U. Wage rates are likely to be relatively 
steady, creating the incentive for labor 
saving and cost reducing devices. 

5>. Unemployment is unlikely to be severe. 
The labor force now includes a growing 
proportion of older workers who would first 
be retired, 

6. Unemployment insurance offers a means 
of income and a sense of greater security 
for those who may lose their Jobs. 

7« Social security programs will similarly 
provide a steady amount of funds to eligible 
persons, adding thereby a further degree 
of stability to national income. 

8. The farm price support program will 
prevent crop prices from collapsing and 
will help to maintain farm income. Severe 
liquidation of farm commodities or real 
estate will not be forced. 

These are all elements of strength 
that should provide a floor to any dip 
in business activity at levels not too far 
down. Even though they cannot completely 
prevent a correction, they can help to 
eliminate the unwarranted pessimism that 
can make recovery mora difficult. Many of 
these cushions involve government expendi- 
tures and because of their size, it will be 
difficult to reduce the federal budget 
enough to provide for extensive tax reduc- 
tion. The twin objectives of national 
security and prosperity are not entirely 
consistent with the urge toward lower 
federal budgets and tax relief, except on a 

Page 1, Section 4 

350 Report Writing 

About 160 copies of the report are issued, although only about 
100 are complete. The rest contain only certain sections and go to 
lower management levels within certain divisions. Each member 
of the Board of Directors receives a complete copy. 

At the monthly meeting of the Operating Committee, composed 
of all six division general managers and the managers of all staff 
departments, this report is gone over in great detail. The President 
of Koppers, who also is Chairman of the Operating Committee, 
makes full use of this report as a means of conducting the business. 
He has read every word in it prior to the meeting, and with his red 
pencil has noted the matters he intends to emphasize. Here in this 
committee meeting many matters of policy and courses of action 
are indicated to correct the weak points in our progress and in 
general to strengthen the company's progress toward its goals. Fol- 
lowing the meeting, the Committee's secretary prepares and issues 
minutes which remind the members of these decisions. 

This Monthly Progress Report has been well received and put to 
good use at Koppers. It has proved to be an excellent means of 
taking much of the bother and annoyance out of the reporting job 
and providing management with the kind of report it needs and 
wants. (See pp. 332-48 for outline and sample pages.) 

Technical Writing Grows into New Profession: 
Publications Engineering * 

by Robert T. Hamlett 

Summary— Engineering-level technical writing is described as requiring, 
foremost, the skills and knowledge of an engineer and, secondly, the 
ability to write well. For this combination of work the term "Publications 
Engineer" is proposed. The writer's participation in an engineering 
project is outlined on a time basis, starting with the sources of informa- 
tion and completed with delivery of the printed work. Satisfying aspects 
of the field are discussed and the future is predicted as of growing value 
to the engineering profession as a whole. 

Introduction. The tremendous expansion in the size and pro- 
ductiveness of the engineering profession has been due, in a large 
measure, to the ability of research and development engineers to 

* Quoted by permission from the Proceedings of the I.R.E., Vol. 40, No. 10, 
October, 1952. Robert T. Hamlett, Senior Member, I.R.E., is Engineering 
Department Head for Publications, Sperry Gyroscope Company. 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 351 

enlist other engineers for special tasks or services related to their 
basic problems. It was not so many years ago that an engineer was 
the engineer— he was charged with responsibility for all engineering 
work on a project. This was possible because the end result of his 
engineering work was usually a single unit or instrument which 
operated without "tie-in" or reference to other equipment. He 
found time somehow to solve all of the engineering problems that 
arose in connection with his "brain child." 

But the modern era of "systems" rather than "instruments" has 
changed the engineering approach to a very marked degree. One 
hears now about systems engineers, product engineers, project en- 
gineers, standards engineers, administrative engineers, test en- 
gineers, field engineers, production engineers, packaging engineers, 
industrial engineers, and so on. What has happened? Simply that 
the individual engineer cannot any longer carry all the burdens of 
the job of "engineering" of a system or even of a single instrument 
which ties into a system. While a very gifted engineer, possessing 
high skill in many branches of engineering, may still be able to 
visualize and guide the work on his project, he is no longer able to 
carry on the many individual investigations, attend the frequent 
engineering conferences, plan the fiscal and field-testing programs, 
solve the production and packaging problems, or create the publica- 
tions which are necessary. 

This ability of the engineer to pass on responsibility to other 
engineers has given rise to still another field of specialization within 
the engineering profession-that of TECHNICAL WRITING. ( See 
Fig. 66.) The products of this new field are instruction books, train- 
ing manuals, engineering reports, technical data sheets, and many 
other types of technical information, a sampling of which appears in 
Fig. 67. The workers in this field are referred to as "Technical 
Writers," "Engineering Writers," "Specification Writers," "Technical 
Report Writers," and the like. This author prefers to call the work- 
ers in this field "Publications Engineers," in keeping with other well- 
established titles such as "Standards Engineer," "Test Engineer," 
and "Field Service Engineer." This new title will be used through- 
out the article. 

What Is a Publications Engineer? The principal reason why this 
author prefers the new title "Publications Engineer" to that of 
"Technical Writer" is that it more clearly designates the duties of 


Report Writing 



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Special Applications to Business and Engineering 



J" 3 





























































Report Writing 

such a worker, and also places him in a proper professional status 
with fellow engineers, where he rightly belongs. For he is an en- 
gineer first, and secondly a writer. The term "Technical Writer," 
as commonly accepted, refers to a writer who writes material on 
technical subjects to various levels of intelligence but who is not 
usually concerned with the actual publication processes and prob- 

The Publications Engineer is an engineering specialist who re- 
lieves other engineers of the major portion of the responsibility for 
production of all publications required as a result of the engineers' 
work. The Publications Engineer writes technical material, plans 
and directs preparation of copy, and carries through on all details 
concerned with actual production of the publication. It is necessary 
to repeat that he is first an engineer, then a writer, and finally, a 
publication man. 

Engineers have always labored under the stigma that they cannot 
write well. It is a common attitude, even in precollege education, 
to assume that because the student is superior in mathematics he 
must be inferior in English. This affects the student's attitude and 
he very naturally uses it as an excuse for not seriously studying 
the subject in which he is prejudged to be inferior. When the 
"superior" math student goes to engineering school, it is a foregone 
conclusion that there is very little that can be done to help him 
there. However, he is given one or possibly two courses in English 
(especially "arranged" for engineers) early in his college work. 
No further attempts are made to help him overcome a deficiency 
which will handicap him throughout his entire career. 

There is no doubt that some engineers cannot write— but some 
lawyers, some accountants, and some doctors cannot write well! 
Some doctors do not develop a pleasing "bedside" manner, so they 
become fine surgeons or specialists. So some engineers do not take 
time to write well, and because of this other engineers now find an 
interesting and well-paid profession. 








| «-| .. ' TNSTALL ATION -• • j 

| »-[ . \. OVERHAOL ' . \ ' 


»"| ■'- REPAIR ' 


— Time Scale 



Figure 68. Typical Writing Assignments on a System. 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 355 

The Publications Engineer must be an engineer who has writing 
aptitude. This aptitude may have never become very obvious be- 
cause of the misguidance and lack of encouragement received dur- 
ing his education. The author has seen many engineers who felt 
certain that they were below average in writing aptitude develop 
into excellent writers of technical material. No one can doubt that 
the engineering profession would be in a much better position if 
there were more effective writers among us. (The same might be 
said for speakers.) 

The Publications Engineer must be an engineer with unquench- 
able thirst for learning. If he is a mechanical engineer, he must 
be learning more about electronics; if he is an electrical engineer, 
he must be learning about aerodynamics, hydraulics, and the like. 
He is constantly challenged to describe something about which he 
knows practically nothing. But with his basic engineering educa- 
tion under his hat, he tackles each unknown with some confidence 
that he can understand and interpret it for others who may know 
more or less about it than he does. Many fine technical descrip- 
tions result when engineers who are educated in one field begin 
to write on subjects in other engineering fields; they use analogies 
which help the reader in applying the description to his own 

The Publications Engineer must have a working knowledge of 
the advantages and disadvantages of many types of reproduction 
processes, such as spirit duplication, mimeograph, Photostat, blue- 
line, and blueprint, Ozalid, and offset printing and letterpress print- 
ing. He is familiar with type faces, paper stock, cover materials, 
binding methods, and the like. He understands the problems in- 
volved in production of copy by typewriters, Varitypers, typesetting, 
and phototype. He has a practical knowledge of the arts of photog- 
raphy and retouching, and he guides technical illustrators in visualiz- 
ing and rendering special illustrations for use with his written words. 

All of his talents and acquired knowledge are combined in the 
process of preparing a publication that must meet government or 
commercial specifications covering content, format, practicability, 
and literary standards. He is at the same time an engineer, a 
writing specialist, a publications expert, and a student of psychology! 

Variety of Work. When the young Publications Engineer has 
overcome his inferiority complex in tackling new writing projects, 


Report Writing 

he finds the variety of writing assignments to be one of the most 
attractive features of his job. It is a familiar complaint among 
engineers that they become too specialized and know too little of 
what is taking place in the scientific world around them. While 
no scientist can hope to keep abreast of the tremendous evolution 
of technical achievements now taking place, the Publications Engi- 
neer finds real satisfaction in testing and adding to his knowledge 
in many different fields. As an example, in the author's company 





U:-' ; 0--. r U:: ; 




















I * / ■ . • > ; . "---,'■: ,■■■■-*.•; 


Figure 69. Publications Engineer Participates in Every Phase of Manual's 
"Life Cycle"; He Must Gain Broad Knowledge of Product's Engineering, Manu- 
facture, and Customer's Application. Persons with whom he deals directly are 

Special Applications to Business and Engineering 357 

the skilled Publications Engineer develops a descriptive knowl- 
edge in such varied fields as radar, hydraulics, servomechanisms, 
gyroscopics, computing mechanisms, ballistics, optics, navigation, 
and aerodynamics. When the occasion demands, he becomes, for 
a time, a writing specialist in one or more of these fields. 

In addition to the variety of writing from the product standpoint, 
there is also much variation in the material to be gathered on any 
one product or system. Fig. 68 illustrates some of the writing 
assignments on a single system. Some of the assignments require 
the Publications Engineer to work intimately with the equipment; 
in some cases he completely disassembles and reassembles the 
units. In other cases, he accompanies the equipment on trial runs 
or field tests. These experiences give a "practical" satisfaction to 
those who like to feel that they are not just "theoretical" writers. 

Another attractive feature of the Publications Engineer's work 
lies in the variety of contacts which he makes in the course of the 
development and approval of a publication. Fig. 69 shows a typi- 
cal "life story" of an instruction book prepared for the Armed 
Services. The underlining in the diagram gives an indication of 
the many individuals concerned in the preparation or approval of 
the publication prior to its final printing; the Publications Engi- 
neer works constantly with all of those shown. 

The Future for Publications Engineers. Young engineers often 
raise the question as to the future of Technical Writing or Publica- 
tions Engineering. There are several factors which appear to be 
of importance in attempting to predict the future— but to the author 
they all look favorable toward increasing opportunity for this new 
profession. First, the complexity of equipment and systems cer- 
tainly will continue to increase; automatic control is the ultimate 
goal of nearly all future instrumentation, and with such control 
always comes increased technical complexity. With increasing com- 
plexity there is greater need for more complete instructional mate- 
rial. As one associate put it, "the equipment becomes more complex 
but the intelligence of the average user remains the same." Second, 
granted that complexity will increase, there is the immediate fol- 
lowing condition that the equipment will be much more costly and 
must be repaired rather than replaced. This adds again to the 
need for publications which will be adequate for the purpose. The 
funds allocated for publications will necessarily increase, but will 

358 Report Writing 

still be a very small portion of the total cost of the equipment. 
Third, if the caliber of engineering graduates coming into Publi- 
cations Engineering is maintained or raised, there will be a broaden- 
ing in the scope of their work since they themselves will develop 
opportunities for using their special skill to supplement the work 
of other engineers. This is a very important responsibility in any 
new profession— to develop and broaden the particular skills and 
to offer them to others. 

Conclusion. Publications Engineering is a new profession which 
has grown rapidly in the past few years because of the increasing 
complexity of equipment and the inability of the research and de- 
velopment engineers to undertake the extensive writing projects 
which became necessary. 

The Publications Engineer must have a sound engineering edu- 
cation and must possess writing aptitude— although it is pointed 
out that the possession of this aptitude may not be realized by many 
young engineers. 

The Publications Engineer develops a knowledge of the repro- 
duction and printing processes, and can guide the publication 
through all of its stages from rough draft to its printed form. 

The variety of work assignments and personal contacts appeal 
greatly to certain engineering graduates. Some of the writing ar- 
rangements cover theoretical aspects, others are along practical lines 
where the writer works closely with the equipment in the factory 
or in the field. 

The "personal-satisfaction" factor is quite high for the Publica- 
tions Engineer since his assignments are usually of short duration, 
compared to those of the engineer, and he "sees" the final results 
of his labors at more frequent intervals. 

Finally, the future of this new profession looks promising be- 
cause of the trend towards more complex equipment and the accom- 
panying requirements for more complete handbook and engineering 
report coverage. The future also depends upon the efforts which 
Publications Engineers make to find new areas of service to the 
engineering profession. 


Work Materials 

Chapter 18 

Case Study 1 

On April 1, 1952, Milton Mishler ( a Miami University 
senior) sent a questionnaire to 144 business and professional 
men in Troy, Ohio, to determine some customer preferences 
and prejudices in their eating out at restaurants. He received 
a 52 per cent reply. Here are his covering letter and ques- 
tionnaire tally sheet; you may make whatever use of them your 
professor suggests. 

May I have ten minutes of your time? 

I am trying to find out why people choose one 
restaurant instead of another. After I graduate 
from college I plan to open a restaurant of the type 
which serves complete meals rather than short 
orders and sandwiches. I would like to attract 
people like you as customers, and I am getting an 
early start in making my plans. 

You can help me plan my restaurant if you will 
fill out the enclosed questionnaire and return it 
to me in the envelope provided. I would certainly 
appreciate it if you would share with me the 
advantage of your experience. 

"Pet Peeves" Mentioned in Replies. 

Steaks spoiled by the use of rancid cooking utensils or greases. Coffee 
that is not good, especially because it was left over or because the 
urns were not kept scrupulously clean. Coffee should never be over 
six hours old. 


362 Report Writing 

1. How often do you dine at a restaurant? 
15% A lmost every day. 

5o% U sually at least once a week. 
.26% U sually at least once a month. 

t/o U sually at least once a year. 

a% Never • 

2. Which type of restaurant do you patronize most often? 

if. C afeteria. 

s<i B uffet Style (Smorgasbord). 
9s< T able Service. 
3% A ll about the same. 

3. How far do you usually travel to go to a restaurant of your 

Choice? 50%: /0-£0 M iles. 31%--u*™£a, /OsmJA*.. 13 fc • *>Wo> ^Oyryviia<u. 

h. Are these factors important in influencing your choice of a 

restaurant? % % 

Parking facilities. Yes £¥ No £_ 
Special exhibits or displays, quaint or 

unusual decor. Yes .25 No 54- 

Personality of the waiters or waitresses. Yes ?3 No <? 
A "speciality of the house" such as unusual 

side dishes or salads. Yes ^£ No #/ 

If your answer to the last question is yes, / -_ ,, i + 

please name or describe the specialty. ^^^*% 

5. Which of the following do you feel is most important in 
restaurant food? 

%2# Quality of the food. 
ib% A ttractiveness of the serving. 
ofa S ize of the serving. 

/s.% A ll are equally important. 

None are of any real importance. 

6. Which do you prefer? 

li 7o A la carte menus $ that is, where each course is priced. 
££&JTable de hote service; that is, where the price quoted on 

the menu includes everything from the cocktail to the 

za.% No preference. 

7» Do you like to have reservations if the party is small? 
z#% Y es. 3& % No. ££%.It does not make any difference. 

8. What do you feel would be a fair price for the following dinner? 

Fruit Juice 

if- */.*<? 


Salad Rolls 



Pried Chicken 



Mashed Potatoes Green Vegetable 

*2..m -*£.M 


Coffee Dessert 

sowi/ $3 


Please describe any "pet peeve" that you have In connection 
with a restaurant. 

Case Studies 363 

("Pet Peeves" continued) 

Poor ventilation— air permeated with frying foods. 

Indifference of the service and cold food. 

A slow or careless waitress— regardless of how good the food is— we won't 

go back. 
Poor service. Over-cooked vegetables. Greasy foods. 
Failure of waiter to leave the check when the meal is over. 
No warm breads or rolls and insufficient butter. There should at least 

be an inquiry to determine whether or not more butter is desired. 

Too many restaurants provide a lot of bread or rolls together with a 

dab of butter which can hardly be seen. If more butter is out of 

the question, provide jelly or jam as a substitute. 
Food that is cold. People apparently known to the restaurant personnel 

being served ahead of strangers. 
Cold food— including cold rolls. 
Orders delivered to the table at variance with original order given; e.g., 

(1) Coffee with cream instead of "black"; (2) salad with dressing 

after ordered "plain." 
Too often coffee isn't good. 
Poor food or tough steak. Lack of butter. 

Cold food, too long a wait to be served, spotty silverware and glasses. 
Sloppily dressed help, poor service— makes me very angry, poor food, 

untidy surroundings. 
Sloppy waitress with chiding manner of service and speech. Forgetful- 

ness. Table service not clean. Menus spotted and dirty. 
Poor and "messy" service. Cold soup. 
Poor service. 
Poor service. Being made to feel that you must hurry through a meal 

so as to make room for other customers. 
Smoky air. Unkept floors, table service and furnishings. 
No paper napkins— I don't want paper napkins. 
Put water bottle on table. Never enough water. 

Slow service. Steam table vegetables. Lack of enough butter to com- 
plete your meal. Poor chef. If the cook is poor the food will also 

be bad and no matter if you only charge fifty cents, the meal will 

not be worth it. 
Noise. Advertisements, calendars, etc. posted, hung or tacked on walls. 
To walk into a restaurant and not be able to find a convenient place to 

hang a coat and crutches. 
Smart acting or sloppy waitress. The boss bossing the help in public. 
Sweeping of floors while customers are eating. Flies. Cold food, coffee 

or tea. Loud juke boxes. Slow service. 
Delay in getting check when finished with meal. 

364 Report Writing 

Cold food supposed to be served hot. 

Serving another party first even though you arrived first. 

Offensive odors from any source. 

Taking a given meal, with few trimmings added and jacking the evening 
price over the noon price. Pseudo-courtesy. 

Not serving food hot. Not giving a choice of green vegetable in place 
of potato. 

Waitress spilling coffee into saucer and doing nothing about it. Not 
bringing bill when finished serving, often necessitating a long wait. 

Juke boxes. Poor ventilation. Booze— unless notice is given outside. 

Cold food. A menu for soft diet customers should be included. 

Indifferent and untidy waitress. 

Waiting too long to be served, such as half an hour. 

Failure to have facilities to serve small children of high-chair age, to- 
gether with the seemingly lack of knowledge upon the part of the 
restaurant people as to what is a satisfactory small child's portion. 

Waiting too long to be served. Mashed potatoes almost never good. 
Waitresses gabbing too much with themselves and customers. 

Poor service. 

Using poor grade canned vegetables on an otherwise good meal. 

Cold food. 

We don't patronize a restaurant that is not neat and clean. 

Poor service. Loud music. No accommodations for children such as 
special rates for small servings. 

Case Study II 

Robert J. Weber (a Miami University senior) interviewed 
four successful accountants; he asked each one to discuss the 
most important qualities (in order of their importance) that a 
college graduate should possess to be hired by his firm. Mr. 
Weber took careful notes and wrote the following summaries 
of his interviews. Make whatever use of them that your pro- 
fessor assigns. 

Abner J. Starr (Lybrand, Ross Bros., & Montgomery, Cincinnati, 

Mr. Abner J. Starr is a Certified Public Accountant and resident 
partner of the Cincinnati office of Lybrand, Ross Bros., & Mont- 
gomery, a national public accounting firm. He has been in the 
public accounting profession for a great many years, working him- 

Case Studies 365 

self up from the bottom to his present position without the aid of 
a college education. 

Mr. Starr gives accounting grades the first consideration on a 
student's job application form. The accounting grades should be 
high but need not be extremely high, for it was his opinion that 
the student with the very high grades did not have to work so hard 
since he probably achieved them by superior intelligence. The man 
who had to work hard for his grades was a better risk, in his opin- 
ion, since that man had developed good work habits. 

Nevertheless a good average in accounting is an important factor 
in selection, more important than the over-all average. If the ac- 
counting grades are acceptable it is not necessary for the over-all 
average to be high. Also, the courses outside the accounting cur- 
riculum need not be in any particular field; a well-diversified selec- 
tion of courses is most desirable. 

The next important requirement is enough college activities to 
display to the firm that the applicant has experience in meeting 
and working with people and that he has a personality that is ac- 
ceptable to others. The activities do not have to be numerous, but 
they should be sufficient to give an indication that the applicant 
gets along with people. 

The next most desirable quality is a good appearance. The man 
should be dressed neatly and make a good all-around appearance. 

The applicant should be able to carry on a good conversation 
and have the ability to express himself clearly. Mr. Starr states 
that this quality is essential when the accountant is working for a 
large number of clients each with a different personality. He also 
states that it is essential for the accountant to have the ability to 
sell himself and his suggestions and recommendations to the client. 
All the qualities just mentioned point to one thing— personality. 
Success in the profession of public accounting requires a good 

The applicant must have at least a normal physical strength and 
build. This is essential when taking inventories where the count 
is not an easy task. 

The man must not use intoxicants to an excess. Mr. Starr states 
that a drinker has no place in the public accounting field. 

The applicant should show skill in the use of language. He must 
be able to make himself understood without impressing the client 
as being pedantic. Mr. Starr states that many of the clients are 

366 Report Writing 

hostile to the accountant and that it takes a great deal of tact to 
satisfy them. 

Draft status has little bearing on the applicant's chances of being 
hired by the firm. If he is a good man he will be hired regardless 
of his draft status, unless of course he has received notice to report 
for duty. 

The marital status of the college graduate has no bearing on his 
opportunity of being selected. Mr. Starr reports that his firm hires 
both married and single men. 

The aptitude of the graduate is judged from his performance in 
college and the way he presents himself in the interview. 

Berl G. Graham, C.P.A. (Gano & Cherrington, Cincinnati, Ohio). 

Mr. Berl G. Graham is a Certified Public Accountant and a part- 
ner in the firm of Gano & Cherrington in Cincinnati. Mr. Graham 
has been engaged in numerous responsible positions in the account- 
ing field; he is a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public 
Accountants, The American Institute of Accountants, The Certified 
Public Accounting Examination Board, and former member of the 
teaching staff at the University of Cincinnati. 

Mr. Graham's major emphasis is placed upon the applicant's 
character. Honesty, he stated, is essential in a man entering the 
accounting profession. By "honesty" he means upholding the basic 
principles of accounting, that is, not permitting the client to use in 
his accounting statements methods which are not consistent with 
generally accepted accounting principles and which lead to a mis- 
statement of fact. Mr. Graham said that many accounting students 
come out of college with the opinion that what they learned is not 
what is done in practice. He said that students should not doubt 
the principles learned in college but should uphold those principles. 

Educational requirements for a position with Gano & Cherrington 
include a good understanding of accounting principles. An appli- 
cant must prove, by grades or otherwise, that he has this basic 
understanding before he can be accepted. Graduate work is not 
necessary; experience helps more than advanced study in reaching 
the goal of passing the Certified Public Accountant examination. 

Personality is an important factor to Mr. Graham in considering 
a man for public accounting work. A good appearance is essential 
since the accountant represents the firm when away from the office. 
He said that the client does not think of his men as individuals 

Case Studies 367 

but as Gano & Cherrington, the public accounting firm. Manners 
are also important in this respect, for if the client judges the man 
as uncouth it is probable that the client will likewise judge the 
entire firm as uncouth. 

Linguistic ability has its importance, according to Mr. Graham. 
It is necessary for the applicant to express himself in good English, 
for bad English has a definite tendency to cause loss of respect for 
the firm for which he is working. 

College activities were given little or no weight in his decision 
upon a man's acceptability. 

The draft status of an individual is of major importance because 
of the conditions which exist today. Mr. Graham remembers 
all too vividly losing eighteen men at the outbreak of World 
War II and also the caliber of men he had to accept to replace 

Although the marital status is not as important as the draft status, 
single men were preferred by Gano & Cherrington. 

Previous accounting experience in a recent college graduate, 
Mr. Graham stated, would probably be looked upon as desirable to 
his other partners, but for himself he prefers a man with no experi- 
ence. He said that a man without experience presents no problem 
of unlearning what he may have originally learned wrong. A man 
with previous experience (unless it was diversified, which is un- 
likely) seems to relate existing situations back to his previous job, 
and the two situations are usually not comparable. For instance, 
if the accountant encounters a problem while working on a depart- 
ment store and he tries to solve this problem by analyzing it from 
the standpoint of a manufacturing concern, he may easily arrive 
at a faulty conclusion. 

Aptitude for accounting work is not judged in a scientific man- 
ner. The interview and application blank are used to judge this 
point in a subjective manner. 

H. W. Cuthbertson, C.P.A. ( Cuthbertson, Hawk & Arnold, Day- 
ton, Ohio). 

Mr. H. W. Cuthbertson is a Certified Public Accountant and 
partner in the firm of Cuthbertson, Hawk & Arnold in Dayton, 
Ohio. Mr. Cuthbertson is a veteran in the public accounting pro- 
fession, and is well qualified to comment on the subject of this 

368 Report Writing 

He rated on an almost equal basis ability and personality with 
ability having a slight edge. He stated that a person must be able 
to sell himself and also have something to sell. The accountant 
must be able to talk to a client; gain his confidence and then have 
the client state his problem. The accountant must then give him 
a solution that will send him away well satisfied. He must talk to 
the client on his plane and stay away from technical terminology 
that may leave him unimpressed. 

Mr. Cuthbertson felt that ability is important, but he did not 
want the man with the highest grades. He felt that a man with 
high grades in accounting had to neglect other portions of his edu- 
cation to attain them or else he was a person who could read 
something once and have it. He felt that the man with exception- 
ally high intellectual ability is not necessarily the most desirable 
to hire in the public accounting profession. 

His third requirement and a very important quality is a desire 
to serve. The man in a profession to serve his client will be the 
man who will be successful. A man entering the profession with 
the idea of making money might make money for awhile but it will 
not last. He says a man who has but one motive, that of giving 
service, will be the man to gain real success. If he has that atti- 
tude he will automatically make money. 

Character is the next quality a man in the public accounting pro- 
fession must possess in order to succeed. Without good character 
he cannot be respected in his profession and will soon be on the 

Although honesty and integrity are components of good char- 
acter, Mr. Cuthbertson gave them separate consideration to em- 
phasize their importance. He could not remotely consider any 
applicant whose honesty and integrity were questionable. 

Mr. Cuthbertson says that the ability and service attitude could 
be developed, as could personality (to a certain extent); but char- 
acter, integrity, and honesty could not be developed. A man's char- 
acter relates back to his childhood, and if he did not acquire it then 
he will never possess it. Therefore, good character is a requisite 
for anybody planning to enter the accounting profession. 

A man's education for public accounting must be broad, accord- 
ing to Mr. Cuthbertson. A man with a broad education as opposed 
to a specialized education is far better equipped to handle people 
and to learn. He says the accountant can pick up the specialized 

Case Studies 369 

phases by experience, but a broad diversified background is de- 
sired for working with the public. 

Graduate work is not recommended by him. He thinks that the 
best thing a man graduating from college can do is to get experi- 
ence. He does not mean by this that education is not good, but he 
thinks that the experience is far more important to the man just 

Mr. Cuthbertson states that his firm is using tests for selecting 
personnel. This is the only firm in the survey that is using a testing 
program for personnel selection. The testing program consists of 
an intelligence test, a Strong Interest Test, and selected accounting 
problems. He says his firm adheres to these tests quite religiously 
since no one in the firm has the qualifications to judge a man with- 
out these aids. 

Linguistic ability, he thinks, is of great importance to a person 
entering any profession. He thinks that one year of speech should 
be required by colleges for anybody entering a profession. He feels 
that the accounting profession in general is weak on this point and 
that it should be stressed far more than it is. Writing ability also 
is important; he thinks that there is too much stilted phraseology 
and ambiguity in accounting reporting. 

Mr. Cuthbertson also stressed the fact that clear oral expression 
is needed by business persons such as public accountants who have 
personal contacts with the general public. 

College activities are also considered important by Mr. Cuth- 
bertson since they teach a man how to mix with different groups 
and broaden his personality. He says that his firm have a place on 
their job application blank for the applicant to list his college 

A man with limited accounting experience (everything else 
being equal ) would have preference over a man with no experience, 
according to Mr. Cuthbertson. 

The draft status of a man is considered very carefully when 
hiring. Mr. Cuthbertson says this is due to the fact that four of 
their key men are in the reserves and are subject to call at any time. 
The tendency right now is to hire draft-exempt men. 

Thomas A. Carney, C.P.A. (Trout & Barstow, Dayton, Ohio). 

Mr. Thomas A. Carney is a Certified Public Accountant and 
partner in the firm of Trout & Barstow in Dayton, Ohio. 

370 Report Writing 

Mr. Carney states that the first thing he looks for in an individual 
applying for a position is his general appearance. It is not neces- 
sary that he be handsome, but his dress should be neat and pleasing 
to the eye. The reason he places appearance first is the fact that 
this is the first thing that makes contact with him in an interview. 
However, the most important requirement is that the applicant 
have a basic understanding of accounting principles. It is not nec- 
essary for him to have outstanding grades in accounting, but there 
must be evidence that he has a basic knowledge of the subject. 
Mr. Carney expresses the opinion that outstanding grades are not 
necessary. It is his opinion that the very intelligent individual 
memorizes much of his material and does not remember it as well 
as the person who pores over the books. 

Another attribute that Mr. Carney rates high in an applicant is 
the ability to express himself effectively. He states that expression 
is one of the most powerful weapons in the world and that not 
enough people possess this ability. He thought the educational 
institutions, particularly the grade schools, did not stress this phase 
of education adequately. 

Mr. Carney states that an applicant's character should be un- 
questionable if he is to succeed in public accounting. Accounting 
work is highly confidential and should not be discussed outside the 
line of duty. The temptation to talk often presents itself, but the 
character of the accountant should be such that he is not swayed 
by temptation. 

Speed is another characteristic that is desired. Mr. Carney states 
that the only thing the accountant has to sell is his time and that 
a man who does not possess a reasonable amount of speed is not 
going to make money for his employer. 

College activities are desirable in a man applying for a position 
because they are a sign of being able to meet and get along with 
people. This characteristic is much desired in a small public ac- 
counting firm, for this is the manner in which many new accounts 
are acquired. 

An analytical mind is one of the more essential attributes that 
Mr. Carney thinks an applicant should possess. He defined an 
analytical mind as the ability to tackle a problem with an open 
mind; to help the client find his difficulty when something appears 
to be going wrong. 

Case Studies 


Case Study III 

In May, 1954, Pat Morris (a Miami University sophomore) 
made a comparative study of Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton, 
Ohio, as prospective locations for the Auto-Stoker Company. 
She gathered her information from many sources: Chambers 
of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce, industry, refer- 
ence books. Reprinted here is her introduction, her analysis of 
one of the cities (Hamilton), her summary of comparisons, and 
a weighted rating chart which she used in making her final 

1. Write the Conclusions and Recommendations section to ac- 
company the report. 

2. Write an introductory summary for the report. Write the 
letter of transmittal. 

3. Using Miss Morris' information about the Auto-Stoker Com- 
pany's requirements and her evaluation of Hamilton, pre- 
pare a comparative analysis of Hamilton and a city in your 
area as possible sites for the company. You will need to 
secure the same kind of information about the city you 
choose, from much the same sources. 

4. Using Miss Morris' information about the Auto-Stoker Com- 
pany's requirements, prepare a comparative analysis of three 
cities in your area as possible sites for the company. 

5. Prepare charts to accompany Miss Morris' report, based on 
the following information from the 1950 U.S. Census. 


Employment, 1950 
(Metropolitan Areas) 



Total Civilian 
Working Force 



Hamilton . . 


Cincinnati . . 









372 Report Writing 


This plant-location study has been prepared at the request of 
the Board of Directors of the Auto-Stoker Company to serve as a 
guide in their choice of a city in which to locate a new plant as a 
branch of the main plant in Portland, Oregon. 

On the basis of a previous market analysis it has been found that 
southern Ohio is centrally located in the midwestern market for 
both home and industrial stokers and is also in a favorable position 
to serve the southern states. Therefore, Cincinnati, Hamilton, and 
Dayton have been chosen as possible cities in which to locate. 

In order to effectively evaluate the importance of the various 
plant location factors for this particular industry, it is first neces- 
sary to analyze the product and the method of manufacture. 

"The Auto-Stoker is made up in three units: a sheet-metal hop- 
per with air blower attached, a patented driving-gear mechanism 
enclosed in a gearbox, and a cast-iron burner with feed pipe and 
spiral feed screw attached. The whole mechanism is electrically 
driven. . . . The hopper can be readily produced at any sheet-metal 
works. The burner, feed pipe, and screw, which are heavy castings 
requiring little finishing, can be easily produced in almost any 
foundry." * The important unit is the driving mechanism which 
accounts for approximately 50 per cent of the entire cost of manu- 
facturing the stoker. Its production requires a well-equipped ma- 
chine shop; heat-treating ovens; dies, jigs, and tools of special design; 
and a skilled labor force. 

According to the plan previously established by the Board of 
Directors, the branch plant is to be equipped to produce the driv- 
ing mechanism, while the castings and sheet metal parts are to be 
purchased from merchant foundries and sheet metal works. The 
branch plant is to finish the rough castings and assemble the com- 
ponent parts. 

Governed by this manufacturing plan, the basic factors to be 
evaluated in surveying tentative locations for this plant are- 

1. General nature of the city. 

2. Location and availability of production material— that is, 
foundries and sheet metal works for producing the hoppers 

* Franklin E. Folts, Introduction to Industrial Management (New York: 
McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1949), pp. 289, 290. 

Case Studies 373 

and castings and a source of supply for the specially de- 
signed manufacturing equipment needed. 

3. Availability, skill, and conditions of the labor force. 

4. Industrial fuel, water, and power. 

5. Transportation and distribution facilities. 

6. Laws and regulations; general attitude toward industry. 

7. Tax structure. 

8. Living conditions. 

Of the three cities mentioned, in the light of these factors, Cin- 
cinnati appears to be the most desirable location for the new branch 

The report is divided into five parts. In the first three sections 
each city— Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton— is examined and 
analyzed separately. In the fourth section the three cities are 
grouped together for comparison of advantages and disadvantages. 
The last section presents the conclusions and reasons for arriving at 


General Information. 

Location. Hamilton is located 24 miles north of Cincinnati and 
about 16 miles east of the Indiana state line. It is the county seat 
of Butler County. 

Area. City of Hamilton 7.94 square miles 


Corporate City Limits 

1950 census 57,951 

1953 est., Hamilton Chamber of Commerce 62,000 

City Zone ( Audit Bureau of Circulation ) 64,436 

Butler County ( 1950 census ) 147,203 

Retail Trading Area ( Audit Bureau of Circulation ) 147,478 

The Bureau of the Census has broken down this population as 
follows : 

Native white 58,659 

Negro 3,219 

Foreign-born white 1,332 

Other 60 

374 Report Writing 

Hamilton is a manufacturing boom town. The rapid expansion 
of its industry has swelled the population with a huge influx of 
laborers from Indiana and particularly from Kentucky, attracted 
there by the ready availability of jobs. The people here are con- 
sidered to be of a conservative nature, and community relations 
are generally good. 

Layout of City. Hamilton's average altitude is about 609 feet. 
The city is built on the banks of the Great Miami River, which 
bisects the downtown area. Shopping and manufacturing areas are 
centered on both sides of the river, with the outlying districts con- 
stituting the residential sections. 

Climate. The temperature averages 75 degrees in the summer 
and 34 degrees in the winter. Precipitation does not vary widely 
throughout the year. March has the heaviest rainfall, with an aver- 
age of 3.9 inches. October has the lightest, with an average of 2.4 

Government. Hamilton has a seven-man council, one of whom 
serves as mayor, and a hired city manager to administer the city. 

It might be said that industry governs Hamilton rather than 
Hamilton governing industry. Consequently, industrial restrictions 
are practically nonexistent. 

Hamilton's police department is equipped with twelve cruisers, 
six motorcycles, one ambulance, and adequate personnel for the 
city's traffic and protection needs. The fire department consists of 
six fully equipped and manned fire stations. 

Hamilton's municipal planning program includes improvement 
of traffic facilities, establishment of off-street parking areas, con- 
struction of a modern sewage disposal plant, and redevelopment 
of the city's several blighted slum areas. Many of these projects 
are already under way. 

Banks. There are three banks in Hamilton. 

Total assets $73,360,062 

Total deposits $66,914,092 

Housing. (Total dwelling units) 

City of Hamilton 17,578 

Butler County 42,343 

Case Studies 375 

Production Materials. 

Hamilton has 17 sheet metal works, which are capable of satis- 
factorily supplying the sheet metal parts needed for the stoker. 
There are also four foundries for supplying the rough castings. 
These foundries would easily be able to absorb the additional work, 
since the period of the Auto-Stoker Company's largest demand for 
castings comes at a time which is the natural slack period for most 

There are only two firms in Hamilton that could possibly furnish 
the specially designed tools, dies, and jigs needed. This, however, 
presents no difficulty, since the Cincinnati machine tool industry is 
so near. Consequently, Hamilton's supply of the needed produc- 
tion materials is quite adequate. 

Labor Force. 

Availability. The 1950 Census lists the following figures: 

Total civilian labor force 23,724 

Employed 22,683 

Unemployed 1,041 

These figures are not for the number of people employed in 
Hamilton, but only for the number of workers who live within the 
city limits. The number of people employed in manufacturing in 
Hamilton in 1953 was 19,094. Many of these workers commute 
from surrounding areas in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. 

The largest industries, with the number of their employees, is as 
follows : 

Paper manufacturing 3,867 

Automobile bodies 2,157 

Machinery 3,926 

Safes 1,524 

Skill. One of Hamilton's greatest drawbacks is its scarcity of 
skilled labor. Although the labor supply is plentiful, it is mostly 
constituted of unskilled workers. 

Wages. The prevailing wages in Hamilton are approximately 
the same as in Cincinnati. The largest industrial pay days are the 
first and second Tuesdays of the month. 

376 Report Writing 

Type of Industry Av. Wkly. Wage 

Food $52 

Printing, publishing 56 

Machinery (except electrical) 61 

Fabricated metal products 54 

Tractability. Labor relations in Hamilton have been exception- 
ally good. However, one disadvantage is the relatively high per- 
centage of labor turnover. 


Fuel. The municipally owned gas distribution system provides 
an adequate supply of gas at very reasonable rates. It has been 
their practice to offer special rates for industrial consumption. 

Power. Hamilton also operates its own power plant and distri- 
bution system, which supplies most of the city. The Cincinnati 
Gas & Electric Company provides the rest. Of the 31 municipally 
owned power plants in the United States, Hamilton's has the lowest 
average rates. 

Water. Hamilton gets its water supply from deep artesian wells. 
The water softening and filtration plant is city-owned. This plant, 
which softens the water to 5 grains of hardness, has a pumping 
capacity of 6,000,000 gallons per day. However, this has proved 
inadequate for Hamilton's expanding needs. During the last two 
summers water has had to be restricted. This situation is now being 
corrected by the drilling of a new well field and the construction 
of additional softening equipment. 

Transportation and Distribution Facilities. 

Rail. Hamilton is served by two railroads— the Baltimore & Ohio 
and the Pennsylvania. 

Truck. Hamilton is on U.S. Highway 127 and State Highways 
4, 177, 128, 129, and 130. Fifteen major truck lines are available, 
seven with their headquarters in Hamilton. 

Airports. Hamilton has one Class II Commercial airport. 

Bus Lines. Ohio Bus Lines provides inter-city service, while a 
Hamilton line provides service within the city. 

Case Studies 377 

Laws and Regulations. 

There are no important industrial restrictions, leaving industry 
pretty much unhampered. The general attitude toward industry is 
very favorable. 

Tax Structure. 

The city's tax rate is $22.89 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. 
This is one of the lowest tax rates in the country. 

Living Conditions. 

Hamilton is a typical middle-sized manufacturing town. Its liv- 
ing conditions are good. The public school system consists of 
twelve elementary schools, two junior high schools, and one senior 
high school. Plans for another junior high and a senior high school 
are now under way. In addition, there are nine parochial schools, 
and two business colleges. Both Miami University and Western 
College for Women are located just 14 miles away in Oxford, Ohio. 

Hamilton has 105 churches of 64 different denominations to serve 
the religious needs of its people. Other community facilities in- 
clude three hospitals, radio station WMOH, the Lane Public Library 
with two branches, and a daily evening newspaper, The Hamilton 

Hamilton's outdoor recreational facilities are excellent. There 
are 47 parks and playgrounds, including swimming pools, tennis 
courts, ball fields, and other play activities. Millikin Woods and 
Crawford's Woods provide popular picnic areas and Potters Park 
golf course furnishes an excellent eighteen-hole course. This, though, 
is about the extent of Hamilton's recreational facilities. However, 
for those who want more elaborate or different entertainment, Cin- 
cinnati is only about 45 minutes away. 

This holds true for the shopping situation as well. Although 
Hamilton has a fair-sized shopping section for a city of its size, those 
who want a wider selection must find it in Cincinnati. 

378 Report Writing 


Production Materials. 

The supply of the three production essentials is quite adequate 
in all three cities. Therefore, it need no longer be considered as 
a determining factor. 


Availability. The size of the labor force within the actual city is 
proportionate in these three cases to the size of the city, with Cin- 
cinnati ranking first, Dayton second, and Hamilton third. However, 
all three draw laborers from a large surrounding area, so the size 
of the labor force is equally adequate in all three cities. 

Skill. More important to the Auto-Stoker Company than the size 
of the labor force is the number of skilled workers it can draw from. 
Here Dayton ranks first, with an extremely high percentage of 
skilled workers among her labor force, and Cincinnati second. 
Herein lies Hamilton's greatest weakness— her scarcity of skilled 

Wages. Dayton, partly because of the highly skilled quality of 
her working force, has a considerably higher prevailing wage than 
does Cincinnati or Hamilton. The average wage rates in Cincinnati 
and Hamilton are about on a par. 

Tractability. Labor relations are relatively good in all three 
cities, with Dayton perhaps ranking a little ahead of the other two. 

Labor turnover seems to be inseparably related to the degree of 
skill of the labor force. Therefore, it is no surprise to find labor 
turnover unusually low in Dayton; about average in Cincinnati; and 
rather high in Hamilton. 


Fuel. Cincinnati has a slight advantage over Dayton and Hamil- 
ton in the fuel situation because of her abundance of cheap coal. 
The availability and rates for gas are about the same for all three. 

Power. The conditions and availability of power are equally sat- 
isfactory in the three cities. Hamilton ranks first in the power situa- 
tion, however, because of lower rates. 

Case Studies 379 

Water. Dayton's water supply is one of her most valuable assets. 
There is an ever-abundant source in the underground reservoir that 
lies beneath the entire city. Most industries take advantage of this 
most desirable situation and sink their own wells. 

The Cincinnati waterworks draws the city's supply of water from 
the Ohio River. The pumping capacity of this plant is quite ade- 
quate for the normal needs of the city. 

In Hamilton, the water shortage that existed during the last two 
summers is being solved by the drilling of a new well field and con- 
struction of additional waterworks equipment. 

Transportation and Distrirution Facilities. 

Cincinnati ranks first, Dayton second, and Hamilton third in the 
availability of rail and truck transportation. Cincinnati has an un- 
usually favorable rail rate situation due to the fact that it is located 
in both the Official and the Southern freight territories. 

Its location on the Ohio River gives Cincinnati a second valuable 
advantage over the other two cities— cheap river transportation to 
the markets in the South. 

Laws and Regulations. 

The attitude toward industry is equally favorable in Cincinnati, 
Dayton, and Hamilton, with bothersome restrictions being at a 

Tax Structure. 

Taxes are lowest in Hamilton, which has a rate of $22.89 per 
$1,000. Next comes Dayton with a rate of $26.80 and also a half 
of one per cent city income tax. Cincinnati's taxes are highest, with 
a regular rate of $27.80. 

Living Conditions. 

Naturally, the larger a city is, the more resources it will have to 
serve its populace. Therefore, Cincinnati ranks first, with Dayton 
and Hamilton second and third, respectively, in the number of cul- 
tural opportunities available. However, Dayton and Hamilton have 
other advantages. Dayton is known as being an unusually clean 
and beautiful city, while Hamilton has many attributes for those 
who prefer a small-town life. 

380 Report Writing 

Weighted Rating Chart 

Below is a weighted rating chart evaluating the relative im- 
portance of the various factors in each of the three cities. 

Each factor has been weighted according to its importance to 
the business. 

Each city has then been assigned points of 1, 2, or 3 for each 
factor according to how it compared with the other two cities. 

Next, the weight assigned each factor was multiplied by the rank- 
ing points ( 1, 2, or 3 ) of each city for that factor to determine its 
weighted value. 

Example: Dayton is the best of the three cities for water, so is 
given three points. These three points are multiplied by the as- 
signed weighting of three to find its weighted value of nine points. 

Factor Conditions Cincinnati Dayton Hamilton 

Production Materials 

9 Foundries 9 9 9 

9 Sheet Metal Works 9 9 9 

5 Manufacturing Equipment 5 5 5 


8 Tractability 16 24 8 

7 Wage Costs 14 7 14 

10 Availability of Skilled Workers 20 30 10 


5 Fuel 10 5 5 

6 Power 6 6 12 

3 Water 6 9 3 

Transportation and Distribution 


9 Water 27 9 18 

9 Rail 27 18 9 

9 Truck 27 18 9 

1 Laws, Regulations, Attitude Toward 

Industry 1 1 1 

4 Tax Structure 4 8 12 

2 Living Conditions 6 4 2 

Total Weights T87 162 "126 

Case Study IV 

Joe Jones, 35, ordinary guy, got back from a vacation in mid- June. 
It was a hot day, on the dusty side, and Joe pulled his car into the 
garage with a sigh of relief. Driving in weather like this was no 

Case Studies 381 

picnic, vacation or no vacation. The family piled out of the car, 
and Joe started after them, but before he could make it to the house 
Tom, his neighbor on the right, hailed him from down the road. 

"Congratulations," Tom said. "How was the trip?" 

"For what?" Joe said. "The trip was fine. Caught my limit in 
an hour and a half yesterday morning." 

"We elected you Road Commissioner," Tom said. 

"You what? The heck you did." Joe's voice went up a notch, 
and he set down the suitcase he'd been pulling out of the trunk. 

"Yeah, we did. We had that meeting anyway, even if three of 
the guys couldn't come. My company is transferring me to the 
home office in Jersey, and I'll be out and gone inside a month. So 
I won't be much good as Road Commissioner. Besides, I'd had it 
for three years. And honest, Joe, we weren't trying to put it over on 
you; we all thought you'd do a good job. You want to improve the 
road, and you know everybody back here." 

"Yeah, but—" Joe was thinking of the work, and the phone calls, 
and making up the assessment letters to buy more gravel to put on 
the road, and the job it was to get the property-owners to help 
keep the road in repair. "We'll sure miss you, Tom." 

"We'll hate to leave—. We talked about your idea of black- 
topping," Tom went on. "We decided to have another meeting a 
week from Saturday to talk about it again. I think we can put it 
over if we can get the job financed through the bank so that we 
won't have to pay for it all at once. I know the couple that were 
looking at my house— Sniders, new at the college next year— would 
want the road paved some way; they were worrying about the dust 
and mud. Of the twelve families, the only ones I'd say were doubt- 
ful are Hackers and that other new family, what's their name? 
Holmann. All you'd have to do is get the figures together and send 
them around before the meeting so that we'd all know what we're 
talking about." 

"Well, I'll try," Joe said. "I still think it was a lowdown trick to 
elect me when I wasn't there to defend myself." 

"All very democratic," said Tom. "Say, Joe—" 


"I still think concrete would be better, and so does Paul." 

"It might be better, but it sure would cost more," said Joe. 

"Not so much more that it wouldn't be worth it. Why don't you 
get the figures on concrete too?" 

382 Report Writing 

"Well, OK—" and Joe finished unpacking the car, listened to the 
news, ate his dinner, and then got on the phone. He called several 
more times the next morning, and made two trips uptown; when 
he pulled up a chair at his old portable typewriter the pad he had 
used was full of figures. The lane that twisted through the little 
subdivision just outside the corporation limits of Newton was 845 
feet long; Joe had measured it. The grading required was esti- 
mated by the Frank Crane Company of Newton: four days, roughly 
$320. The charge for moving in a grading crew from the city Joe 
had estimated at $80, and so he had not bothered to call any of 
the grading companies there; the local lumber dealer had told him 
the rates were the same anyway after the company had brought 
in its equipment. $320 plus $80 was too much for grading; Joe 
ruled the Crane Company's competitors out. Besides, he hated to 
spend money on long-distance calls, and the information was 
needed quickly. 

Blacktop surface was quoted by the Hall-King Road Company 
of nearby South Newton at $2.80 a running foot of 18-foot road- 
way. The Hall-King Company promised the same professional 
blacktop job that it supplied the county and the state on road con- 
tracts, except that the surface would not be so thick. Joe assumed 
that since the lane was a dead end, there would be little heavy 
truck traffic. The same type of blacktop surface was quoted by the 
Frank Crane Company at $2.95 a running foot of 18-foot roadway. 

The man Joe talked to at the Frank Crane Company was Robert 
Sandefur, whose sons had organized a construction company during 
the past month. Sandefur had been directing some minor contracts 
to them, supposedly jobs Crane had not wanted, though Joe had 
heard rumors that Crane had given Sandefur notice. Sandefur had 
quoted Joe the $2.95 figure, and then said that Ajax Construction 
( run by his sons ) had a new blacktop method that would cost less 
than half as much. This new method required no rolling, no heavy 
equipment, gave a long-lasting and smooth job, was uncondition- 
ally guaranteed by Sandefur himself, and could be had at an intro- 
ductory price (just so the community could see how good it was) 
of $1.25 a running foot of 18-foot road. Sandefur suggested a fur- 
ther saving: reducing the road width to 14& feet. Such a road he 
felt sure he could talk his sons into building for a flat $1 a running 

Case Studies 383 

The Hall-King Road Company seemed reluctant to quote on 
concrete roadway; they had built so few that they were not sure 
how to make the estimate. They said it would take at least 375 
yards of concrete at $13 a yard, a steel center strip at $54 per thou- 
sand feet, 36 contraction joints at $1.10 each, and forms, labor— 
they couldn't be sure, but the whole job would run anyway $6000, 
maybe $7000. The Frank Crane Company preferred not to bid on 
concrete; Joe saw Frank at the bank and checked with him directly 
so that he would not have to talk with Sandefur about it. Frank 
suggested that Joe and his neighbors buy the ready-mix concrete 
and lay the road themselves on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. 
Joe called the Home Gravel Company and learned that concrete 
was $13 a yard, as Hall-King had said, and that an 845-foot road 
would take between 350 and 400 yards, depending on how thick a 
roadway was wanted. Mr. Jackson at the gravel company said that 
forms could be rented for $250-$300 and that he had heard of some 
men in a nearby town who had made their own concrete road at 
a saving of one fourth over the contractor's estimate. 

Joe called the Hackers and the Holmanns to find out how they 
felt about the road so that he would know their objections, if any, 
and how to get information to answer them. The Hackers said they 
were broke and just couldn't afford it at all; they weren't taking 
any kind of vacation this year and were about to sell their car. 
Besides, they lived at the end of the road and weren't bothered by 
dust. The Holmanns were suspicious of Joe; they felt that he was 
trying to put something over on them just because they were new. 
They had been told, they said, that when they bought their prop- 
erty they gained access to all improvements, water lines, phone 
lines, etc., and they felt this should include all future improvements. 
They had heard about the "assessment racket" that was tried on 
newcomers, and they wanted Joe to know they weren't going to be 
taken in. 

From the President of the bank Joe learned that the total bill 
for the road would be paid by the bank, which would then divide 
up the sum into twelve equal shares. Any property-owner could 
pay this sum in a lump, without interest of course, or pay it quar- 
terly for ten years at an average interest of 2/2 per cent a year, the 
interest to be figured each year on the original sum borrowed rather 
than on the unpaid balance. 

384 Report Writing 

Joe decided he was as ready as he would ever be to write his 
report to the property-holders; he put plenty of carbon paper in 
his typewriter and started to work. 

. . . Let's assume you're Joe; write his report. 


Export Sales Organization of Ford Motor Co. 

Direct Mail Program for Van Wert Fire Insurance Co. 

Personnel Program for Washington Hotel Dining Room and Coffee Shop. 

Sales Presentation: Lewyt Vacuum Cleaners. 

Sales Analysis: Posture Foundation Shoes. 

A Public Relations Program for the Miami University Student Union 

Reducing Fatigue and Waste Motion in the Stenographic Department. 

Shall Ajax Distributing Corp. Subscribe to Dun and Bradstreet Services? 

Procedure of the Contract Department, Ralph H. Jones Co. 

Employee Deaths and Injuries, Transportation Department, New York 
Central System, Big Four District, June, 1955. 

Proposed New Layout for Finishing Department, A-l Dry Cleaners, Inc. 

Insurance Rating Survey on the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. Build- 
ing at 3250 Fredonia Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Shall Tom Collins, Jr., Co. purchase the Pitney-Bowes Model PS Postage 
Meter Machine? 

The Necessity of an Accident Prevention Program at Philips Manufac- 
turing Co. 

Outline of an Accident Prevention Program. 

Report of the Effectiveness of Three Typewriters Used in the Preparing 
of Master Plates for the Multigraph Machine at The Diem and Wing 
Paper Co. 

Improvement Resulting from Installation of Monorail System for Materials 

Proposed Rearrangement of the Inventory File at the Alvey-Ferguson Co. 

Union Bonnet Rings Made from Continuous Castings. 

A Plan for More Economical Purchasing of Meat by Institutions. 

Need for a Personnel Department at Ajax Distributing Co. 

Proposed Method of Moving Urgent Material Through G. E. Lockland 

Study of Method of Tabulating Inquiries from Magazine Advertising of 
the Alvey-Ferguson Co. 


386 Report Writing 

Report on Fire at Terrace Park Country Club: Terrace Park Fire De- 

Report on Operation of New Check-Out System, Dean Grocery Co. 

Report on the Proof-Box Method in Proofing Doughnuts. 

Suggested Changes in Initial Distribution Methods for Dairy Products. 

Six-Months Report of the Service Department, Walker Motor Co. 

Construction Estimate Report: a Three-Car Garage. 

Report on New Billing Form D-1680. 

Report on Containers Used for Shipping Tomatoes from Florida Points. 

Effect of Unvented Gas Consuming Equipment in Prefabricated Homes. 

Report on the Operation of the Proof Department, First National Bank. 

The Advisability of Establishing a Garage in Yorkville. 

Report on the Elimination of the White Shoe Bottleneck in the Packing 

Statistical Hazard Facts and Suggestions for Elimination of Hazards. 

How to Improve Production Quality and Eliminate Excessive Waste of 
Molded Products. 

Proposed New Warehouse for Albert Door Co. 

Proposed Method of Reporting Production in the Candy Department, 
Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. 

Test and Inspection Report, Distribution Cabinet #531. 

Report on a Proposed Subsidiary Plant at Memphis, Tennessee. 

Survey: Salesmen's Opinions of the Bold Venture Sales Contract. 

Report on False Alarms at Pease Co. and Suggestions for Readjustment 
of Automatic Fire Alarms. 

Report on Management Conference Attended as Delegate of Hamilton 
Foundry Co. 

Proposed Order Handling and Shipping Procedure. 

Shall the Andrews Co. Install an IBM Accounting System? 

Unimelt Welding in Steel Mills. 

Labor Report on the New Model 10 One-Floor Six-Room Ranch House. 

Deodorization with Chlorine Dioxide. 


Suggested by James H. Batchelor, Industrial Engineering Consultant 

A Wage Incentive System. 

Machine Rearrangement. 

Preferred Numbers. 

Two Alternative Plans for Expansion of Manufacturing Capacity. 

Plant Layout for a Department. 

Use of Smaller Balls in Ball Mill. 

A Quality Content System for Pharmaceuticals. 

Problems Confronting a New Farm Implement Dealer. 

Project for Improving Patterns. 

Product Classification. 

Preferred Voltage Ratings for Alternating Current Systems and Equip- 

Procedure for Physical Inventory. 

Addition of Two-Phase Test Facilities. 

Production Control in a Pipe Fabrication Shop. 

Introduction of Methods Charts. 

Scheduling Problems. 

Carton Survey. 

Graphic Method of Preparing Wage Schedules. 

Purchased and Fabricated Parts Inventory Control. 

Banner Welding Machine Operation. 

Deficient Output of a Tool and Die Shop and Some Corrective Sug- 

Soy Bean Processing. 

History and Establishment of a Farm Supply Inventory Control System. 

Method Study of Chemical Analysis of Carotene and Xanthophyll in 
Grains and Feeds. 

Supervisory Training in Personnel Management. 

Incentive Standard Set up Applied to the Corner Wheel Operation. 

Method of Incentive Checking. 

Group Incentive in Herculite Department. 

Diking Storage Tanks. 

Factors in Setting Up a Casting Production Schedule. 


388 Report Writing 

Some Major Considerations in Plant Location. 

Duties of a Plant Superintendent. 

A Plan to Gain Production Space. 

The Establishment of an Incentive System— and Some Results Obtained. 

Analysis of Organizational Functions of a Clerical Department. 

Application of Scientific Management to the Production of Alcohol. 

Scientific Management Approach to Small Structural Engineering Office. 

Product Process Chart. 

Process Charts Applied to a Laundry Industry. 

Getting the Job Evaluation Program Going in the Office. 

A Labor Recruiting Program. 

Method of Trimming Helmet Ears. 

Morale of Employees and Quality of Work. 

A New Plant Layout Plan. 

Absentee Record of Stitching Department of a Shoe Factory. 

Recording Scale for Weighing Wire Bundles. 

The Layout and Operating Methods of an Employment Department. 

Advisability of Installing Chip Screw Feed on Asplund Defiltrator. 

Equipment Survey of Manufacturing Plant for Automotive Clutches. 

Business Management Service for Distributorship Operations. 

Centralized Purchasing Procedure. 

Scheduling Operations of a Garment Company. 

Proposed Sewing Room Layout of Proposed New Plant (Garment). 

Receiving Raw Materials by Rail versus Water (Barge Line). 

Promoting Personnel from the Ranks. 

Moving Empty Drums from Storage to Packing Area. 

Foreman Training. 

Production Efficiency Curves. 

Installation of Lubricating Devices. 

Shop Rearrangement to Conserve Space and Time. 

Reduction of Scrap Parts and Materials. 

Assignment of Duties and Responsibilities of Engineering Personnel. 

Use of Trucks for Storage to Eliminate Handling. 

Scaffolding Casts. 

Processing Retirement Deductions of Overseas Civilian Employees. 

Stepping Telephone Poles. 

Methods Improvement. 

Cost Reduction Through Time Studies and Methods Changes. 

Part Numbering Plan for Drafting Department. 

Authority Responsibilities and Duties of the General Superintendent. 

Production Scheduling Plan. 

Foreman Training. 

Procedure in Setting Up an Inventory Control. 

Industrial Engineering Report Subjects (Informal) 389 

Production Control. 

Application and Control of Carbide Tools. 

Color Dynamics. 

Study of Permanent Type Concrete Ring Tank Foundation Forms Com- 
pared to Wooden Forms. 

Cost Reductions in Export Packing. 

Installation of Trim Rack for Painting and Transporting Trims. 

Increased Production and Cost Reduction Through Application of 

Advantages of Installing New Pickling Tank. 

Scaling Plank Lumber before Processing for the Blocking Operation. 

Scheduling in a Pipe Fabrication Shop. 

Qualification Requirements for Promotional and Recruiting Purposes for 
A-N Branch USAF Aeronautical Chart Plant. 

Operation Job Changes and Intercommunication Equipment. 

Lighting System in a Cutting Die Shop. 

Investigation of Customer Complaints on Appliance Functioning and 
Corrective Measures. 

Factors Involved in Submitting a Quotation for a Low Production Run 
in a Job Shop. 

Equipment for Grog Handling and Plant Clean-Up. 

Procedure for Preparation of a Spare Parts Engineering Breakdown. 

Plant Layout of Screw Machine Department. 

Control of Tubular Equipment Gasket Stocks. 

To Improve Efficiency in the Inspection Department. 

Conveyor System Tie-In Between Metal Finishing Department and As- 
sembly Line. 

Beginning of a Quality Control Department. 

Method for Adapting Stores and Maintenance Accounting to Mechanical 

Pressing and Folding Shirts on a Conveyor. 

Machine Finishing Problem. 

Analysis of Organizational Functions of a Clerical Department. 

Material Requisition System. 

Studies and Analysis for a Budgetary Control in Assembly Section. 

Development of a Critical Shipping Weight Table. 


Motion Picture Film Distribution System in Southern Illinois. 
Use of Photo-engraving and Duplicate Plates in Advertising. 
The Rate-Bureau System and the Reed-Bullwinkle Act. 
Encephalitis in the Skunk. 

F. & R. Lazarus Co. Executive Training Program. 
Accounting Internship Program at Miami University. 
Investment Analysis of Investment Trusts. 
Financial Analysis of Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. 

Sorg Paper Co. 


Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. 

Electric Auto-Lite Corp. 


Dayton Rubber Co. 

Pennsylvania Railroad Co. 

Baldwin Locomotive Works. 
Security Analysis of Seven Selected Stocks. 
Four Oil Stocks. 
Four Grocery Chains. 
Four Natural Gas Stocks. 
Big Steel. 

Oil Firms Operating in the Williston Basin. 
Current Automobile Market Trends. 
Municipal Income Tax of Springfield, Ohio. 

Toledo, Ohio. 
Effects of Television on Children's Play Habits. 
Juvenile Delinquency Among Children from Broken Homes. 
Social Work in Finland. 

Social Problems Current Among the Navaho. 
Proposed Cost Accounting System for Marion Forge Co. 
Reserves on the Balance Sheet. 
Capital Gains and Losses on the Balance Sheet. 

Four Plant Expansion Alternatives for the Timken Roller Bearing Co. 
A Technical Facilities Plan for a College FM Station. 


Supplementary List of Titles, Formal Reports 391 

Market Research Report: Alba Tube Starch Co. 

Consumer Lipstick Pilot Survey. 

Consumer Preference in Restaurant Design and Operation. 

The CIO's Attempted Organization of Marvel Schebler Carburetor Co. 

Attributes Desired by Public Accounting Firms When Hiring a College 

Insurance as a Protection for Business Partnership. 

Psychological Testing: Current Trends in Industry. 

Application Letters: Survey of the Qualities Desired by Personnel 

Corporate Structure and Tax Position of the Miami Foundation. 

Organization of the Ben Franklin Department Stores System. 

Effects of American Economic Trade Barriers on the Watch Industry of 
Switzerland Since 1900. 

Choice of a Plant Site: Geneva Castings Co. 

Survey of Personnel Directors' Opinions on the Possibilities of Advance- 
ment for the Salesgirl. 

Handling of Grievances at the Acme Motors Co. 

Product Development Research Trends. 

Recent History of Federal Control of Cosmetic Advertising. 

A Credit and Analysis Program. 

Testing Advertising Copy. 

Tumey vs. Ohio: the Authority of Mayor's Court. 

Organized Crime and the American Culture. 

Current Problems in Education in Alabama. 

Some Aspects of the 19 Individual Income Tax. 

Survey: Taste in Popular Music and Trends in Record-Buying Among 
College Students. 

Foreign Trade of Taiwan Since 1950. 

Choice of a Camera to Be Used for Photomicography. 

History of Labor Unions in the United States, 1660-1940. 

Two Specific Applications of Industrial Television. 

Geology of the Area Around Dubois, Wyoming. 

Modernization Program of Chicago & Great Western Railway. 

Impurities in Marine Boiler Feed Water and Their Effect on Efficiency 
and Maintenance. 

Future Granite Resources in the Barre, Vermont, Area. 

Establishing a Greenhouse in Enid, Oklahoma. 

A Five-Year Fashion Analysis: Women's Coats. 

Should Richmond, Indiana, Have a Better Business Bureau? 

Effects of Soil Bacteria: Report of a Controlled Experiment. 

Reforestation of the Bachelor Estate. 

Predator Habits of the North American Wolf. 

392 Report Writing 

Compensation of Salesmen as Influenced by Inflation and Deflation. 

Housing Problems in Lafayette, Indiana, 1955. 

Analysis of Current Trends in the Paper-Converting Industry in the 

Chicago Area. 
Social Influences on Advertising Policy. 
The Nature of Sound. 
Mathematical Inversion. 

Methods of Measuring Selling Effectiveness on TV. 
Changes in the Psychology and Philosophy of Advertising Since 1925. 
An Analysis of the Current Condition of Retail Selling in the Shoe 

An Executive Testing Program. 
A Business Indicator for the Chrysler Corporation. 


Books on Writing 
Composition and Rhetoric 

Davidson, Donald. American Composition and Rhetoric. 3d ed. New York: 

Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953. 
Thomas, Joseph M., Frederic A. Manchester, and Franklin W. Scott. 

Composition for College Students. 5th ed. New York: Macmillan Co., 

Warfel, Harry R., Ernst G. Mathews, and John C. Bushman. American 

College English. New York: American Book Co., 1949. 

Handbooks of Composition 

Foerster, Norman, J. M. Steadman, and James B. McMillan. Writing and 

Thinking. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1952. 
Hodges, John C. Harbrace College Handbook. 3d ed. New York: Har- 

court, Brace & Co., 1951. 
Kierzek, John M. The Macmillan Handbook of English. 3d ed. New York: 

Macmillan Co., 1954. 
Perrin, Porter G. Writers Guide and Index to English. Rev. ed. Chicago: 

Scott, Foresman & Co., 1950. 

Manuals for Term Papers, Theses, and Reports 

Alraugh, Ralph M. Thesis Writing. Ames, Iowa: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 

Campbell, William G. Form and Style in Thesis Writing. Boston: Houghton 

Mifflin Co., 1954. 
Government Printing Office Style Manual. Rev. ed. Washington: Government 

Printing Office, 1953. 
Lutz, R. R. Graphic Presentation Simplified. New York: Funk & Wagnalls 

Co., 1949. 
A Manual of Style. 11th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949. 
Parker, William R. The ML A Style Sheet. New York: Modern Language 

Association, 1951. 
Trelease, Sam F. The Scientific Paper: How to Prepare It, How to Write It. 

Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Co., 1947. 
Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Dissertations. Chicago: Univer- 
sity of Chicago Press, 1949. 
Williams, Cecil B., and Allan H. Stevenson. A Research Manual. Rev. 

ed. New York: Harper & Bros., 1951. 


Chase, Stuart. Power of Words. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1954. 
Flesch, Rudolf. The Art of Readable Writing. New York: Harper & Bros., 


394 Report Writing 

Flesch, Rudolf. How to Make Sense. New York: Harper & Bros., 1954. 

Hayakawa, S. I. Language in Thought and Action. New York: Harcourt, 
Brace & Co., 1949. 

Larson, Spencer A. Better Business Communications. Detroit: Wayne Uni- 
versity Press, 1952. 

Saunders. A. G., and C. R. Anderson. Business Reports. New York: McGraw- 
Hill Book Co., Inc., 1940. 

Shidle, Norman G. Clear Writing for Easy Reading. New York: McGraw- 
Hill Book Co., Inc., 1951. 

Whyte, William H. Is Anybody Listening? New York: Simon & Schuster, 
Inc., 1952. 

Wilkinson, C. W., J. H. Menning, and C. R. Anderson, eds. Writing for 
Business. Chicago: Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1951. 

Reference Books 

Guides and Bibliographies 

Alexander, Carter, and A. J. Burke. How to Locate Educational Information 
and Data. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1950. 

Bibliographic Index: A Cumulative Bibliography of Bibliographies. New York: 
H. W. Wilson Co., 1938 and later. 

Coman, Edwin T. Sources of Business Information. New York: Prentice-Hall, 
Inc., 1949. 

Dalton, Blanche H. Sources of Engineering Information. Berkeley: Uni- 
versity of California Press, 1948. 

Handbook of Latin American Studies, 1935. Cambridge: Harvard University 
Press, 1936 and later. 

Williams, Cecil B., and Allan H. Stevenson. A Research Manual. New 
York: Harper & Bros., 1951. 

Winchell, Constance M. Guide to Reference Books. 6th ed. Chicago: 
American Library Association, 1951. 

Encyclopedias: General 

Columbia Encyclopedia. 2d ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1950. 
Encyclopedia Americana. New York: Americana Corp. 30 vols. 1952. 
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1953. 24 
vols. Published in cooperation with the University of Chicago. 

Encyclopedias: Specialized 

Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. New York: Interscience Encyclopedia. 

In process, 1947 and later. 
Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. New York: Macmillan Co., 1930-35. 

15 vols. Reissue in 8 vols., 1948. 
Hutchinson's Technical and Scientific Encyclopedia. New York: Macmillan 

Co., 1936. 4 vols. 
Monroe, W. S. Encyclopedia of Educational Research. Rev. ed. New York: 

Macmillan Co., 1950. 


American Year Book, 1910-1919; 1925. New York: American Yearbook Corp., 

1911 and later. 
Americana Annual. New York: Americana Corp., 1923 and later. 

Selected Bibliography 395 

Book of the States. Chicago: Council of State Governments, 1935 and later. 

Britannica Book of the Year. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1938 

and later. 
Commodity Year Book. New York: Commodity Research Bureau, 1939 and 

Municipal Year Book. Chicago: International City Managers Association, 1934 

and later. 
Social Work Year Book. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1929 and later. 

Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1878 and later. Washington: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1879 and later. 
World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York: World-Telegram, 1868 and 


Dictionaries: Word 

The American College Dictionary. New York: Harper & Bros., 1947. 

New Standard Dictionary. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1913. Plate 

revisions, 1938 and later. 
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam 

Co., 1949. 
Webster's New International Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam 

Co., 1950. 

Dictionaries: Biographical 

Current Biography, Who's Who in the News and Why. New York: H. W. 

Wilson Co., 1941 and later. 
Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 

1928-37. 20 vols, and index. Supplements. 
Webster's Biographical Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Co., 

Who's Who in America, 1899, 1900 (and later). Chicago: A. N. Marquis, 1899 

and later. 
Who's Who in Commerce and Industry. Chicago: A. N. Marquis Co., 1953. 
Who's Who in Engineering. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1948. 
Who Knows— and What. Chicago: A. N. Marquis Co., 1954. 

Dictionaries: Miscellaneous 

Dictionary of American History. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. 
Schwartz, Robert. Dictionary of Business and Industry. New York: B. C. 

Forbes & Sons Co., 1954. 
Webster's Geographical Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1949. 


Encyclopaedia Britannica World Atlas. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 

Inc., 1952. 
Hammond's Standard World Atlas. New York: C. S. Hammond & Co., Inc., 

Band, McNally Commercial Atlas and Marketing Guide. 84th ed. Chicago: 

Rand, McNally & Co., 1954. 

396 Report Writing 


Leidy, W. Philip. A Popular Guide to Government Publications. New York: 

Columbia University Press, 1953. 
Publishers' Trade List Annual. New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1872 and later. 

2 vols, plus index vol. 

United States Catalog: Books in Print. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1928. 
Supplements, called Cumulative Book Index, 1928 and later. 

United States Government Publications: Monthly Catalog. Washington: Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, 1895 and later. 

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Census Publications, Catalog and Subject Guide. 
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1947 and later. Quarterly. 

U.S. Department of Commerce. List of Selected Publications of the Bureau 
of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Washington: Government Printing 
Office. Annually. 

Periodical Indexes 

Ayer, N. W., & Son. Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals. Philadelphia: 

N. W. Ayer & Son, 1880 and later. 
Book Review Digest, 1905. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1906. 
Bowerman, Elizabeth G. Union List of Technical Periodicals. 3d ed. New 

York: Special Libraries Association, 1947. 
Canadian Index: A Guide to Canadian Periodicals and Films, 1948 and later. 

Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1948 and later. 
Engineering Index, 1884 and later. New York: Engineering Magazine, 1892- 

1919; American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1920 and later. 
Gregory, Winifred. American Newspapers, 1821-1936: A Union List. New 

York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1937. 
. Union List of Serials in Libraries of the United States and Canada. 

New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1943. Supplements. 
Industrial Arts Index, 1913 and later. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1913 

and later. 
International Index to Periodicals, 1907 and later. New York: H. W. Wilson 

Co., 1916 and later. 
New York Times Index, 1913 and later. New York: New York Times, 1913 and 

Nineteenth Century Readers' Guide, 1890-1899. New York: H. W. Wilson 

Co., 1945. 
Poole's Index to Periodical Literature, 1802-1906. Boston: Houghton Mifflin 

Co., 1882-1908. 
Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS), 1915 and later. New York: Public 

Affairs Information Service, 1915 and later. Includes books, pamphlets, 

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, 1900 and later. New York: H. W. 

Wilson Co., 1905 and later. 
Technical Book Review Index. New York: Special Libraries Association, 1935 

and later. Also published 1917-28. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Library, 1917-29. 

Library Resources: Miscellaneous 

Special Library Resources. New York: Special Libraries Association, 1941-47. 

3 vols. 

Selected Bibliography 397 

Union List of Microfilms. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1942. 

Vertical File Service Catalog: An Annotated Subject Catalog of Pamphlets, 

1900-33. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1934. Supplements. 

Business Directories and Services 

American Business Directories. Washington: U.S. Domestic Commerce Office, 

Brown, Stanley M., et al., eds. Business Executive's Handbook. New York: 

Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1953. 
Business Literature. Newark, N. J.: Newark Public Library. Monthly, 1928 

and later. 
Daily Beport for Executives. Washington: Bureau of National Affairs. 
Davis, Marjorie V. Guide to American Business Directories. Washington: 

Public Affairs Press, 1948. 
Dun b- Bradstreet's Beference Book. New York: Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. An- 
Kiplinger Washington Letter. Washington: Kiplinger Washington Agency. 

Poor's Begister of Directors and Executives. New York: Standard and Poor's 

Publishing Co. Annually, 1928 and later. Quarterly supplements. 
The United States News and World Beport. Washington: United States News 

Publishing Corp. Weekly. 
Whaley-Eaton American Letter. Washington: Whaley-Eaton Service. Weekly. 

Whaley-Eaton also publish a Foreign Letter. 
See also such magazines as Business Week, Fortune, Harvard Business Beview, 

Journal of Business, Nation's Business, Newsweek, and Time. 

Report Writing Fields 
Accounting and Statistics 

Finney, Harry A. Principles of Accounting. 4th ed. New York: Prentice- 
Hall, Inc., 1951-52. Vol. I, Intermediate; Vol. II, Advanced. Introductory, 
4th ed., 1953. 

Lang, Theodore, ed. Cost Accountants' Handbook. New York: The Ronald 
Press Co., 1944. 

Paton, William A., ed. Accountants' Handbook. 3d ed. New York: The 
Ronald Press Co., 1943. 

See also Journal of Accountancy, monthly; Accounting Beview, quarterly. 

Government Statistics Bureau. The Handbook of Basic Economic Statistics. 
Washington: Government Statistics Bureau. Annually, 1947 and later. 

Hauser, Philip M., and William L. Leonard, eds. Government Statistics 
for Business Use. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1946. 

Smith, J. G., and A. J. Duncan. Fundamentals of the Theory of Statistics. 
New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1945. 2 vols. 

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Statistical Abstract of the United States. Wash- 
ington: Government Printing Office. Annually, 1879 and later. 

Periodicals: Dun's Statistical Beview, Journal of the American Statistical As- 
sociation, Beview of Economic Statistics, Survey of Current Business. 

398 Report Writing 

Advertising and Marketing 

Aspley, John C, ed. The Sales Managers Handbook. 6th ed. Chicago: 

Dartnell Corp., 1949. 
Frey, A. W. Advertising. 2d ed. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1953. 
Kleppner, Otto. Advertising Procedure. 4th ed. New York: Prentice-Hall, 

Inc., 1950. 
Maynard, H. A., and T. N. Beckman. Principles of Marketing. 5th ed. 

New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1952. 
Standard Rate and Data Service. Chicago: Standard Rate and Data Service, 

Inc. Monthly. 
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Census of Business. Washington: Government 

Printing Office, 1951-52. 7 vols. 
U.S. Department of Commerce. Market Research Sources. Washington: Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, 1950. 
Wingate, M. W., and N. A. Bmsco. Buying for Retail Stores. 3d ed. New 

York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1953. 

Periodicals: Advertising Age, Advertising and Selling, Chain Store Age, Duns 
Review and Modern Industry, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, 
Printers' Ink, Sales Management, Tide. 


Bogen, Jules I., et al., eds. Financial Handbook. 3d ed. New York: 

The Ronald Press Co., 1948. 
Dauten, Carl A. Business Finance. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1948. 
Munn, Glenn G. Encyclopedia of Banking and Finance. 5th ed. New York: 

The Bankers Publishing Co., 1949. 

Periodicals: American Banker, Banking Journal of the American Bankers As- 
sociation, Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, Journal of 
Commerce, Wall Street Journal. 

Foreign Trade 

Exporters' Encyclopedia. New York: Thomas Ashwell and Co. Annual. 
Henius, Frank. Dictionary of Foreign Trade. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 

Pan American Associates. Pan-American Yearbook. New York: Macmillan 

Co. Annually. 
Pratt, E. E. The Foreign Trade Handbook. Chicago: Dartnell Corp., 1952. 
U.S. Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Summary of Foreign 

Trade of the United States. Washington: Government Printing Office. 

Annually and Monthly. 
Van Cleef, Eugene. Getting into Foreign Trade. New York: The Ronald 

Press Co., 1946. 

Periodicals: American Exporter, Commercial America, Foreign Commerce 

Industry and Industrial Relations 

Aspley, John C, and Eugene Whitmore. Handbook of Industrial Relations. 

Chicago: Dartnell Corp., 1952. 
Dickerman, Marian, and Ruth Taylor. Who's Who in Labor. New York: 

Dryden Press, Inc., 1946. 

Selected Bibliography 399 

Industrial Marketing: Market Data Book Number. Chicago: Advertising Pub- 
lications. Annually. 

Institute of Labor Studies. Yearbook of American Labor. Northampton, 
Mass.: Institute of Labor Studies. Biennial. 

International Labour Office. Yearbook of Labour Statistics. Geneva: In- 
ternational Labour Office, 1953. Brought up to date monthly in Inter- 
national Labour Review. 

National Industrial Conference Board. The Management Almanac. New 
York: National Industrial Conference Board, 1946. Brought up to date 
monthly in The Conference Board Management Record. 

Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers. New York: Thomas Publishing 
Co. Annually. 

Yoder, Dale. Personnel Management and Industrial Relations. 3d ed. New 
York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1948. 

. Personnel Principles and Policies. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1952. 

Periodicals: Advanced Management, Ceramic Age, Chemical Engineering, Fac- 
tory Management and Maintenance, Industrial Relations Magazine, Per- 
sonnel, Personnel lournal, Progressive Architecture, The Rubber Age. 

For divisions of industry, such as Building, Electrical Equipment Industries, 
Petroleum, Textiles, etc., see Coman, Sources of Business Information. 


National Office Management Association: Research Committee. Bibliog- 
raphy for Office Managers. Philadelphia: National Office Management 
Association, 1945. 

Alford, Leon P., and H. Russell Beatty. Principles of Industrial Manage- 
ment. Rev. ed. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1951. 

Alford, Leon P., and John R. Bangs, eds. Production Handbook. New York: 
The Ronald Press Co., 1944. 

Bonn, A. E. The Management Dictionary. New York: Exposition Press, 1952. 

Halsey, George D. Handbook of Personnel Management. Rev. ed. New 
York: Harper & Bros., 1953. 

Terry, George. Office Management and Control. Rev. ed. Homewood, 
Illinois: Richard D. Irwin, 1953. 

Periodicals: Advanced Management, Factory Management and Maintenance, 
Management Review. 

Real Estate and Insurance 

Crobaugh, Clyde J. Handbook on Insurance. 2d ed. New York: Prentice- 
Hall, Inc., 1949. 

Holmes, L. G., and Carrie M. Jones. The Real Estate Handbook. New 
York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1949. 

The Insurance Almanac. New York: The Underwriter Printing and Publishing 
Co., 1912 and later. Annually. 

Magee, John H. Property Insurance. 2d ed. Chicago: Richard D. Irwin, 

Unique Manual of Insurance. Cincinnati: National Underwriter Co., 1954. 

Periodicals: American Builder, Architectural Forum, Building Reporter and 
Realty News, Buildings, lournal of Real Estate Management, Operative 
Builder and Contractor. Best's Insurance News, lournal of Commerce, 
National Underwriter. 

400 Report Writing 

Science: Biological and Physical 

Dennis, W. K. Recent Aeronautical Literature. Wichita, Kansas: Beech Air- 
craft Corp., 1947. 

Hawkins, R. R. Scientific, Medical, and Technical Books. New York: R. R. 
Bowker Co., 1946. 

An International Bibliography on Atomic Energy. Lake Success, New York: 
Atomic Energy Commission Group, United Nations, 1949. Supplements. 

Light, Israel. Annotated Bibliography on Atomic Energy. New York: Teach- 
ers College, Columbia University, 1947. 

Parke, N. G. Guide to the Literature of Mathematics and Physics. New York: 
McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1947. 

Soule, Byron A. Library Guide for the Chemist. New York: McGraw-Hill 
Book Co., Inc., 1938. 

Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. New York: D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., 

Wright, John K., and Elizareth T. Pratt. Aids to Geographical Research. 
New York: Columbia University Press, 1947. 

Periodicals: Aeronautical Engineering Review, Chemical Abstracts, Industrial 
and Engineering Chemistry, Science News Letter, Science Abstracts. 

Science: Social 

Baldwin, J. M., ed. Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology. New York: 
Peter Smith, 1949. 3 vols, in 4. 

Beers, Henry P. Bibliographies in American History. New York: H. W. 
Wilson Co., 1942. 

Burchfield, Laverne. Our Rural Communities. Chicago: Public Administra- 
tion Service, 1947. 

Good, Carter V., and Douglas E. Scates. Methods of Research, Educa- 
tional, Psychological, Sociological. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 
Inc., 1954. 

Hirshrerg, H. S., and C. H. Melinat. Subject Guide to United States Gov- 
ernment Publications. Chicago: American Library Association, 1947. 

International Council on Religious Education. Classified Bibliography 
of Youth Publications. Chicago: United Christian Youth Movement, 1948. 

Seckler-Hudson, Catheryn. Bibliography on Public Administration. Wash- 
ington: American University Press, 1949. 

Periodicals: American lournal of Sociology, American Political Science Review, 
Economic Journal, Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Sociology and 
Social Research. 


Aircraft Association of America. Aircraft Year Book. Washington: Lin- 
coln Press, 1953. 

American Aviation Directory. Washington: American Aviation Publications, 
1939 and later. Semi-annually. 

Association of American Railroads. Railway Literature: A Bibliography. 
Washington: Association of American Railroads, 1942. 

. Transportation in America. Washington: Association of American 

Railroads, 1947. 

Automobile Facts and Figures. Detroit: Automobile Manufacturers Association. 

Selected Bibliography 401 

Frederick, John H. Commercial Air Transportation. Chicago: Richard D. 

Irwin, 1951. 
Who's Who in Railroading in North America. New York: Boardman Publishing 

Corp., 1949. 

Periodicals: Aero Digest, Air Transportation, American Aviation, Aviation Week, 
Railway Age, Railway Mechanical Engineer, Transportation Supply News. 
Automotive Digest, Bus Transportation, Transport Topics. 

Selected Articles in Periodicals 

Allen, L. A. "Five Keys to Better Report Writing." Mill and Factory. 50 

(April, 1952), 85-87. 
Bello, Francis. "The Information Theory." Fortune, 48 (December, 1953), 

Buschmann, A. D. "Management Needs Good Maintenance Reports." Fac- 
tory Management, 112 (April, 1954), 130-31. 
Chase, Stuart. "How Language Shapes Our Thoughts." Harper's Magazine, 

208 (April, 1954), 76-82. 
Collins, James H. "The Ordeal of the Annual Report." Public Utilities Fort- 
nightly, 52 (November 19, 1953), 772-79. 
Doris, Lillian. "How to Prepare Written Material for General Use or Pub- 
lication." The ABWA Bulletin, 17 (March, 1953), 4-16. 
Hayakawa, S. I. "Semantics." Etc.: A Review of General Semantics, 9 

(Summer, 1952), 243-57. 
Knowlton, Don. "The Semantics of Annual Reports." Accountancy Review, 

22 (October, 1947), 360-66. 
Mattill, John I. "Writing as Communication: The Engineer Must Learn How 

to Reach His Constituents." The Journal of Engineering Education, 44 

(April, 1954), 476-79. 
Merrill, Paul W. "The Principles of Poor Writing." The Scientific Monthly, 

64 (January, 1947), 72-74. 
Miles, Stephen B. "Report Writing." The ABWA Bulletin, 16 (December, 

1951), 3-9. 
Neikirk, W. W. "Organizing the Business Report." N.A.C.A. Bulletin, 30 

(October 15, 1948), 193-204. 
Rapoport, Anatol. "What Is Information?" Etc.: A Review of General 

Semantics, 10 (Summer, 1953), 247-60. 
Rolph, S. W. "Strong Case for Standardization of Modern Business Reports." 

Advertising Management, 19 (March, 1954), 9-11. 
Slate, F. O. "Organization of the Technical Report." Journal of Chemical 

Education, 23 (September, 1946), 439-40. 
Souther, J. W. "Applying the Engineering Method to Report Writing." 

Machine Design, 24 (December, 1952), 114-18. 
Struck, Herman R. "Recommended Diet for Padded Writing." Science, 119 

(April 23, 1954), 522-25. 
Suhr, D. C. "Increasing Foreman Effectiveness with Management Reports." 

Management Review, 42 (March, 1953), 153-54. 
Tong, Kin Nee. "Helping the Student Master the Art of Thinking." The 

Journal of Engineering Education, 44 (November, 1953), 169-72. 
Whorf, Benjamin Lee. "Language, Mind, and Reality." Etc.: A Review of 

General Semantics, 9 (Spring, 1952), 167-88. 


Abstract, 125 

example of, 333 
chart, 56 
ladder, 253 

importance of writing ability to, 

survey of, 364-70 
Accounting reports (internal); see 

Control Systems; Management 
Accuracy, importance of, 47-49, 63, 

214, 276-78 
Advertising language, 76 
Aids, visual, 83-98, 280-301, 302-5 
Air Force, writing for, 231-42 
Aircraft industry, reports in, 212, 

American Business Writing Associ- 
ation, 115, 210-20 
American Management Association, 

316, 322 
Annotated bibliography, 127 
Annual reports 
divisional, 318-19 
excerpts, 8-14 

to stockholders, 63-65, 88-90, 91, 
95, 96-97, 98 
Apparatus, drawings of, 291 
Appearance of report, 47, 156, 209 
Appendix, 127 

example, 172, 334-42 
Architectural drawings, 127 
Authorization, letter of, 179 
Automation, 138, 148 

effect on future of technical writ- 
ing, 357 

Balance sheet, 127 

Banking, reports in, 212, 216, 217, 

Bar graphs, 290 

example of, 89, 344, 346, 347, 348 

Bibliography, 126-27, 154-55 

annotated, 127 

entry, example, 157 

example, 171 
Blueprints, 127 

Body of report (as a term), 126 
Business letters, 181, 220-24 

Captions for illustrations, 98, 156, 


catalog, in research, 26 

example, 33 

index, 26, 27 

punched; see Punched cards 

system of organizing, 39-40 

use of, 154 
Case problems, 361-84 
Case studies, 127, 195 
Charts, 93-94, 127, 279-89, 302-3 

examples, 92, 280, 284, 285, 294, 

298, 299, 325, 347, 348, 356 

Chemistry, reports in; see Scientific 

Clarity, 45, 63, 118, 198, 222, 274 
Cliches, 47, 78-79, 198, 222 
Coherence, 45, 65-67, 217 
Communication, 53, 62, 273-75; see 

also Meaning, in language 
Communications industry, reports in, 

Computers, electronic, 110 
Conciseness, 45, 63, 118, 197, 206-7, 

Concluding summary, 126 

example, 358 
Conclusions and recommendations, 

126, 205, 214, 215, 216 
Contents, table of, 122, 156 

example, 162 
Control systems 

management, 322-50 

sales, 311-15 




Coordination, 66 

Correspondence, interoffice; see Mem- 
Cover, 121-22, 157 

example, 343 
Covering letter, 361 
Cue notes, minimal, 33-37 

example, 36-37 
Current English Usage Quiz, 70-71 


experimental, 127 

reported, 276-77 
Decimal outline, 40-41 
Definition, operational, 55, 254 
Diagrams, 127, 289-301 

example, 93, 286 
Direct mail, language in, 76 
Dissertations, scholarly, 152-53 
Documentary forms, example, 157-58 
Documentation, 154-56, 205 
Drawings, 127, 289-301 

Emphasis, 66-67 

Engineering, publications, 333, 351- 

Engineering, reports in; see Reports, 

Executive development, reports in, 

Experimental data, 127 
reported, 276-77 

Field research, in preparing reports, 

Figures, table of, 123, 125-26 

example, 147, 163 
Final draft, preparation of, 47 
Flow charts; see Flow sheets 
Flow sheets, 127 

example, 93 
Footnotes, 44, 47, 155-56 

examples, 157-58 
Formal outline, 40 
Formal reports, 151-72 

example, 160-72 

suggested titles for, 390-92 

typed, 156 

documentary, examples, 157-58 

for routine reports, 105-13 

interoffice correspondence, 180-81 

General Electric Review, 93 
Glossary, with example, 128 
Government publications, as research 

source, 27-28 
Grammar, 60-61 
Graphic devices, 83-98 
Graphs, 85, 156 

bar, 89, 290, 344, 346, 347, 348 

in context, 95, 132 

line, 88, 284, 290, 344, 345, 346, 

maps, 90, 91, 94, 156, 254 

picture, 90 

pie, 89, 290 

Headings, 41-42 
History, financial, 127 

Illustrations, 47, 83-98, 209; see also 
Diagrams; Graphs; Photographs 
and drawings 
captions and notes for, 98, 156, 

pictorial, 94 
table of, 163 

Indentation, typed report, 156 

Index, 128 

Index cards, 26, 27 

Industrial engineering report subjects, 

Industrial management, problem, 

Industrial reporting, new trends, 128- 

Inferences, 256, 261 

Informal outline, 41 

Informal reports 
example, 139-47 
suggested titles, 385-89 

Information, gathering of, 26-28, 196, 

Information theory, 160t72 

Insurance, claim adjuster's report, 5-8 

Insurance, reports in, 213, 215, 216, 
220, 317-18 

Internal reports, 115, 306-7 

Interoffice correspondence; see Mem- 

Interrogation, in preparing reports, 
20-26, 152 

Interview, plan of, 20-21 

Interviewing; see Interrogation 



Introduction, 125, 193 

example, 164 
Introductory summary, 125 

example, 333 
Investments, reports of firms dealing 
in, 8-14, 132-33 

Jargon, 78-80, 198, 208 
Judgments, 256, 262 

Language, 52-73, 198, 207-9, 213-20, 
243-48, 272-74 

adapted to use, 63-64 

of graphs, 279-89 

used in advertising, 76 
Lantern slides, 292-97 
Layout drawings, 127 

business, 181, 220-24 

content, 182-83 

covering, 361 

examples, 174, 175, 176, 177-78 

functions, 173, 178, 180 

importance of, 183-84 

simplified, 223 
Librarians, help from, 28 
Library, use of, in research, 26-28, 

Life insurance; see Insurance, reports 

Life questionnaire, 25 
Line graphs, 290 

example, 88, 284, 344, 345, 346, 
Lists, 83, 127, 182-83 

Magazines, indexes, use of, 27 
Management, 11-13, 306-7; see also 

Control systems 
Manufacturing, reports in, 213, 214, 

215, 216, 217, 218, 219 
Map graphs, 91 
Maps, 90, 94, 156, 254 
Margins, manuscript, 156 
Market research 

survey questionnaire, 23 

survey work sheets, 127 
Material, locating, 18-31 

chart showing meaning in reading, 

in language, 57-69 

loss of, with diagram, 61-63 

Memoranda, 113-17, 174, 180 

advantages, 115 

Churchill's, 198 

uses, 114-15 
Memorandum reports 

examples, 3, 4, 77-78, 116-17 

when appropriate, 114-15 
Metalinguists, 152 

National Office Management Associ- 
ation, 220 
Neatness; see Appearance of report 
Note cards 

example, 35 

use of, 154 

identifying data, 35, 154 

minimal cue, 33-37 

Objectivity and subjectivity, 80-81, 

199, 216 
Observation, in preparing reports, 19- 

20, 152, 196 

of facts and ideas, 32-42, 231, 242 

of information, 39, 202-6 
Organization charts, 92, 280, 285, 325 
Outlines, 40-42, 154, 191, 200-201, 
204, 334-42 

decimal, 40-4] 

formal, 40 

informal, 41 

of typical report, 334-42 

tabular, 41 

Parallelism, 66 

Personnel department, reports in, 

Photographs and drawings, 94, 127, 

Photostats, 156 
Physics, reports in; see Scientific 

Picture graphs, 90 
Pie graphs, 89, 290 
Plan for report; see Outlines 
Precis, 125, 333 
Preface, 181-82 
example, 161 
importance of, 183-84 
Proofreading, 48-49, 225-30 
Public relations, 178 
Public relations report, 134-37 



Punched cards 

example, 111, 112 

in industry and business, 110 

in police work, 109 

in sales control, 311-15 

replace reports, 110 

Questionnaire, 127 

Life, 25 

plan, 24 

restaurant survey, 362 

Spiegel, 23 

in text, 156 

note for, 39 

Railroad companies, reports in, 218- 

Readability, 78, 131, 134, 135, 138, 

199, 210 
Reader, needs of, 128, 192-93, 233- 

34, 294-95 
Recommendations and conclusions; 
see Conclusions and recom- 
Reference books, use in research, 27 
Reference guides, 26 

appearance, 47, 156, 209 
beginning the, 43-44, 192, 196-97, 

body of, 126 
definition of, 8, 191-92 
function of, 8 

insurance claim adjuster's, 5-8 
length of, 206 
progress, 322-50 
rewriting, 44-47 
"Report of the 1953 ABWA Reports 

Committee," 210-20 
Reporting, trends in, 128-48, 305 

and development of future execu- 
tives, 13-15 
annual; see Annual reports 
distinguished from term papers, 18 
extend executives' capacity to ob- 
serve, 11-13 
formal, 151-72, 390-92 
importance of, 8-13, 212-13 
industrial, new trends, 128-48, 305 
informal, 121-48, 385-99 

internal, 115, 306-7 

memorandum, 3, 4, 77-78, 114-17 

planning; see Outlines 

requirements of, 197-99, 210, 213- 

technical, 98, 276-78, 289-301, 
Research, 26-28, 194-95 

field, 20-26 

guides, 26 

limiting, 32-34, 192 

organizations, writing for, 351-58 
Research plan, 32-34, 192 
Research report, 191-92 

example, 130-31 
Revising, 45-47, 199 
Road building, problem, 380-84 
Rough draft, 44-46 

Sales engineering report, 139-47 
Sales management, 301-5, 311-15 
Sales report form, 104 
Sample forms and questionnaires, 

placement of, 127 
Sampling, in research, 26 
Science, language of, 76, 272-76 
Scientific writing, 76, 272-76, 276-78, 

289, 351-58 
Second draft, 46-47 
Semantics, 52-69, 249-59, 259-64, 

Service report, 106 
Simplified letter, 223 
Specifications, 127 
Spelling, 47, 49 
Statistical tables; see Tables 
Style, report writing, 75-78, 207-9 
Subheadings, 41-42, 240 
Subjectivity and objectivity, 80-81 
Subordination, 66 
Summary, concluding, 126, 358 
Summary, introductory, 125, 193, 333 
Systems control 

management, 322-50 
sales, 311-15 

Table of contents, 122, 156 

example, 162 
Table of figures, 123, 125 

example, 147, 163 
Table of illustrations; see Table of 



Tables, 83-85, 86, 87, 127, 133, 283, 
344, 345, 346 

Tabular outline, 41 

Tally sheets, 127, 362 

Technical reports, 98, 276-78, 289- 
301, 351-58 

Technical writing, 333, 351-58 

Term papers, distinguished from re- 
ports, 18 

Title page, 122 

example, 123, 124, 160 

Titles, working, 234-36 

Topics and subtopics, 43, 238-40 

Transition, 67 

Transmittal, letter of, 122, 173-87 
importance of, 183-84 

Twain, Mark, quoted, 74 

Utilities, reports in, 213, 217 

Visual aids, 83-98, 280-301, 302-5 
Vocabulary, 264-71 

Words, as symbols, 53-55 
Work sheets, 127 

example, 327 

scientific, 76, 272-76, 276-78, 289. 

technical, 333, 351^58 


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